ABOUT two million children face the risk of death in Nigeria in the next 10 years from pneumonia bouts.
United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) made the prediction yesterday in a statement released in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, as part of its effort to sensitise Nigerians on the on-going Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia that will host from yesterday to tomorrow in Barcelona with world leaders from nine leading health and children organisations in attendance.
According to UNICEF Communication, Advocacy and Partnership Specialist, Rabiu Musa, malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics will play strong roles as drivers of preventable deaths from pneumonia that kill a child every three minutes in Nigeria unless more is done to fight the dreaded diseases.
“Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid. The disease is the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 per cent of under-five deaths, which can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with low-cost antibiotics.
However, more than 40 per cent of one-year-olds in Nigeria are unvaccinated, and three in four children suffering from pneumonia symptoms do not get access to medical treatment,” UNICEF said.
It will be recalled that this is the first international conference on childhood pneumonia coming up under UNICEF auspices, with organisations such as IS Global, Save the Children, Every Breath Counts, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Unitaid and Gavi, and Vaccine Alliance all participating.