November 12th was World Pneumonia Day. What we should all know about childhood pneumonia in Nigeria:
- In Nigeria, more children under the age of five died from pneumonia in 2018 than from any disease - 443 deaths per day - representing 19 per cent of child deaths in the country.
- Pneumonia is the single highest cause of respiratory deaths for children, five years and under,
- accounting for 162,000 deaths in 2018.
- In 2016 the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) adopted WHO recommendations to end childhood pneumonia of using Amoxicillin DT through the primary health care system.
- The 2016 revise Nigeria National Treatment Guidelines recommends Amoxicillin DT as first line
- Funding for the support of treatment for childhood pneumonia is captured under the Code ERGP25112202 in the annual budget of the FMoH. This Code corresponds to - Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) Strategy - Articulation of Policy and Strategy in Child Health in Line with SDG Targets on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) Follow up, Integrated Supportive Supervision (ISS).
- In the 2020 National budget, N235,057,243 was allocated for I MCI to fight childhood pneumonia and other childhood diseases under Code ERGP25112202.
- In the 2021 National Budget currently being debated there is a zero allocation under the existing code where childhood pneumonia was funded previously. However, it is noted that the NEMCHIC, a new initiative is well funded. It not clear how childhood pneumonia will be funded or the priority it will be accorded to this Head. CSOs of the PAS project will monitor this.
- Without adequate funding for training, job aids, and policy diffusion of the new treatment guidelines at state level, Primary Health Centers are unable to effectively manage childhood pneumonia, necessitating the referrals to an overburdened secondary or tertiary center.
- World Pneumonia Day is being commemorated on 12th November at a time when Harmattan dust and cold winds increase risk of respiratory distress to children.
- With 25% of all deaths of children with sickle cell disease caused by Acute chest syndrome (ACS) an investment in eradicating childhood pneumonia is urgent, important and an investment in Nigeria's future generations.
The 23 Nigerian civil society organizations of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at scale (PAS) project, commemorates the World Pneumonia Day- 12th November 2020.