Pharmacists launch campaign against child-killer diseases in Kaduna

a girl child on a sick bed

a girl child on a sick bed

Officials of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on the platform of Partnership For Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PSN-PACHFAH) have launched a campaign against childhood diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea in Kaduna State.

The PSN is also to support the government to reduce under-five mortality rate in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Country Director of PSN-PACFAH, Mr. Remi Adeseun, and his team who led the advocacy visit to the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Agency (KSPHCA) Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, stated that out of the 337,000 births recorded yearly in the state, 66,000 die before getting to the age of five.

According to him, the PSN-PACFAH is an amalgam of eight Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and allied Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), adding that the 2013 Nigerian Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) in Kaduna State indicated that for every 1,000 live-births, 185 die before the fifth birthday of preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

“Most of the aforementioned deaths are from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. The survey shows that diarrhoea and pneumonia account for 13 per cent and 16 per cent respectably of under-five mortality rate in Kaduna State.

“In the North West, Kaduna has the second highest percentage of under-five mortality rate from pneumonia. The state has 16 per cent under-five diarrhoea mortality rate, a figure that is far higher than the national average of nine per cent.”

Adeseun stressed that: “The management of pneumonia and diarrhoea affecting children should be given high priority by the state government through the Ministry of Health. If half of the attention given to malaria is directed towards pneumonia and diarrhoea treatment, more lives would be saved.

“PSN is specifically advocating for the adoption and use of Amoxicillin dispersible tablet and Zinc-Low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt (Zinc-Lo-ORS) co-pack as first-line treatment for childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea respectively in line with the revised WHO/UNICEF treatment guidelines.”

In her response, the head of KSPHCA, Dr. Balarabe, said that Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration was aware of the problem and had taken proactive measures towards tackling the challenge.

She added: “All the departments in the Ministry of Health involved in immunisation and dispensation of drugs and allied services have now been brought under the roof of KSPHCA for proper coordination.

“I am sure you are aware of the partnership that the governor signed with the Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation on the eradication of some of these diseases.

I want to inform you that the governor has authorised the release of 100 per cent counter-part funds to this cooperation to solve this challenge.”

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