The federal government has introduced a vaccine to treat persons suffering from pneumonia in the country.
The vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), was launched recently in Lokoja, capital of Kogi State by Governor Idris Wada.
At the event were officials of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), an agency of Federal Ministry of Health, as well as those of World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
At the launch, which also had officials of Pediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), Clinton Health and Access Initiative, GlaxoSmithKline and other partners in the routine immunization landscape in Nigeria, Governor Wada praised the initiative of the federal government.
Represented by his deputy, Yomi Awoniyi, the governor described the vaccine as an essential response to reducing pneumonia in Nigeria.
He noted that the ability of the vaccine to protect young children against pneumonia and other diseases, and disclosed that it was another strategy aimed at reaching every child at risk of pneumonia.
The governor called on stake holders to help inform the public on the importance of the vaccine.
Also speaking, NPHCDA Executive Director Dr. Ado Muhammad said the vaccine would help prevent over 600,000 infant deaths over the next three years.
He assured on the availability of the “lifesaving” vaccines for the Nigerian child towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4).
The agency’s Director of Disease Control and Immunization, Dr. Emmanuel Abanida expressed delight that the launch came at a time pneumonia was responsible for the deaths of nearly one million children younger than five years of age each year.
“This is greater than the number of deaths from any infectious disease, such as HIV infection, malaria or tuberculosis. This is the reason why we are more than happy to jump start the administration of this vaccine to ensure our children live healthy life,” remarked Abanida.
He appealed to “all partners to be unrelenting in their support until every child in all African countries has protection against infection by bacteria or viruses that may cause pneumonia.”
Also speaking, WHO Country Director, Dr. Rui VAS, expressed the hope that “the introduction of PCV in Nigeria will ultimately improve the Child Health outcome of the country and accelerate the progress of the country towards achieving the MDG4 Goal.”
Represented by Dr. Musa Omotosho, the country director said over 177,000 children under five years old die every year from pneumococcal diseases.
He expressed the hope that “the introduction of PCV into the country EPI schedule would ultimately improve the health outcome of children in the country.”