Fred Itua, Abuja
The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday disclosed that five countries in the world are responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths, with Nigeria ranking second after India in the number of deaths arising from the ailment. It said that over 162,000 deaths are recorded annually.
The Senate made the statement during the consideration of a motion titled ‘Urgent need to combat the high rate of infants death caused by pneumonia in the country’.
The motion was sponsored by Clifford Ordia, PDP Senate representing Edo Central, who chairs the Local and Foreign Debts Committee.
Worried by the development, the Senate urged the Federal Ministry of Health to launch a massive vaccination programme to curb this killer disease.
It also urged the Federal Ministry of Health through its relevant agencies to make available Amoxicillin DT antibiotics to health centres around the country to treat the infection.
In his lead debate, Ordia said that “Pneumonia is a lung disease condition which can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, which leaves children fighting for breath with their lungs filled with pus and fluid.
“Children with low immune systems weakened by other infections or by malnutrition and those living in areas with high level of air pollution and unsafe water are more at risk of been infected by the disease
“About five countries in the world are responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths, with Nigeria ranking second after India in the number of deaths arising from pneumonia, with 162,000 deaths.
“Millions of children are at risk of not celebrating their fifth birthdays as more than 40% one-year-old’s in Nigeria are unvaccinated and three in four children suffering from pneumonia symptoms do not get access to medical treatment.
“Most pneumonia deaths can be prevented with vaccines and treated with low-cost antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin DT.”