By Mayowa Adeniran |
Nigeria has been listed as the leading country with number of child death to pneumonia globally, killing one child every three minutes in Nigeria.
The disease claimed an estimate of 162,000 deaths in 2018 – 443 deaths per day, or 18 every hour.
Pneumonia claimed the lives of 162,000 children under the age of five last year, or one child every three minutes, according to a new analysis.
Save the Children is calling for the Nigerian government to urgently commit new resources to tackling the deadly disease, pneumonia.
Globally, 802,000 children under the age of five died from pneumonia in 2018, more than from any other disease. By comparison, 437,000 children under five died due to diarrhoea and 272,000 to malaria.
Just five countries were responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths: Nigeria (162,000), India (127,000), Pakistan (58,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo (40,000) and Ethiopia (32,000).
The recent analysis found out that Nigerian children born in the poorest households were nearly three times more likely to die from diseases like pneumonia before their fifth birthday, compared to the richest children.
The picture is starkest in Zamfara, where children are five times as likely to die before the age of five, compared to children from Kwara.
Most pneumonia deaths can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with low-cost antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin DT.
Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK, said “This is a forgotten global health epidemic that demands a greater international response. Millions of children are dying for want of vaccines, affordable antibiotics, and routine oxygen treatment. The pneumonia crisis is a symptom of neglect and indefensible inequalities in access to health care.”
Deirdre Keogh, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, said “in collaboration with the Every Breath Counts (EBC) Coalition, Save the Children supported the Government of Nigeria in the development of the National Integrated Pneumonia Control Strategy. I would like to applaud the government for taking a very important step forward in addressing pneumonia.
“I am confident that the Strategy will soon be approved, costed and implemented to reduce child pneumonia deaths, as part of a wider strategy for universal health coverage in Nigeria.”