Pneumonia can kill two million Nigerian children says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund on Wednesday said a new analysis showed that two million Nigerian children could die of pneumonia in the next 10 years unless prevention and treatment services were improved on.

The statement said malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics were among the drivers of preventable deaths from pneumonia, adding that last year, a child died every three minutes in Nigeria.

UNICEF said, “Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert over two million child deaths from pneumonia and other major diseases in Nigeria, new analysis has found.

“The modelling by Johns Hopkins University is being released today (Wednesday) as nine leading health and children’s agencies host the world’s first global conference on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona, Spain.

“Forecasts show that 1.4 million children under the age of five could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria, on current trends – the highest number of any country in the world and more than 20 per cent of childhood deaths from pneumonia globally.

“However, an estimated 809,000 of these deaths would be averted by significantly scaling up services to prevent and treat pneumonia. Researchers also found boosting pneumonia services would create an additional ripple effect, preventing 1.2 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time.”

Quoting researchers findings, UNICEF said by 2030, that effect would be so large that pneumonia interventions alone would avert over two million predicted under-five child deaths in Nigeria from all causes combined.

It added that pneumonia was the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 per cent of under-five deaths.

UNICEF Nigeria’s Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, stated that the global health agency had a responsibility to do all it could to avert deaths by pneumonia in the country. Punch
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