Pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, main causes of infant mortality — Expert

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A medical expert, Dr Ogenetega Idaboh, has said that pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea are the leading causes of death among children under five years.

She said that in a paper presentation at an event to mark 2023 World Pneumonia Day in Asaba,

organised by the Delta Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) with support from UNICEF.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the day is annually celebrated on Nov. 12 to raise awareness about the disease and proffer solutions to mitigating its spread.

The day has “Defeat Pneumonia: Every Breath Count, EEveryAactionMmattes” as its theme for 2023.

According to her, cold does not cause pneumonia as widely believed.

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Idaboh, who is the Coordinator of the PAN-UNICEF Pneumonia Project in Delta, said pneumonia, along with malaria and diarrhea are the leading causes of death among children under the age of five years.

She added that “pneumonia is a killer ailment and it has been defined as an inflammation of the lung due to pathogenic micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.

“Over the years, many people believe that pneumonia is caused by exposure to cold. But that is not the case. In short, cold is not even among the risk factors that cause pneumonia.

“The major causes of pneumonia among under five children are malnutrition, lack of extensive breastfeeding, pollution, congestion among others.”

Earlier in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Delta Ministry of Health, Dr Philomena Okeowo, had said that pneumonia remained a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children than any other infectious diseases.

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According to her, pneumonia posed formidable challenge to the efforts of the government and its partners to build a healthier and more prosperous society.

She said “today’s gathering is not only a reflection of our collective commitment to the health and well-being of our communities, but also an acknowledgement of the pressing need to address the burden of pneumonia.

“As we convene here today, it is imperative that we recognise the urgency of our collective mission to mitigate the burden of pneumonia and enhance preventive measures.

“It is equally of great importance that we strive to improve access to quality healthcare services for our children.”

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Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr David Kajovo, lauded the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in the PAN-UNICEF Pneumonia project in the state.

According to him, WHO is working with partners in the project to ensure the attainment of set goals.

He added that “as a major partner, WHO is very much involved in the PAN-UNICEF Pneumonia project; we provide technical support to see that the project succeeds.”

NAN also reports that the theme of 2023 World Pneumonia Day celebration is ” Defeat Pneumonia: Every breath count, Every action matters.

The event was attended by medical consultants from the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, officials of the state’s Ministry of Health, project partners, civil societies and market women. (NAN)

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