Oxygen Therapy, Key To Curbing Deaths From Pneumonia -Expert.
NIGERIA accounts for about one-sixth of the global pneumonia deaths and ensuring that safe, reliable, and effective use of oxygen and pulse oximeter technology for severely ill children is key to curtailing these deaths.
Professor Adegoke Falade made this assertion in his inaugural lecture with the title 'Ensuring that our Children Breathe Well: An Odyssey Wrapped in Providence,' at the University of Ibadan.
Falade, a paediatric pulmonologist, stated that with universal oxygen access and more than 90 per cent oxygen coverage for hypoaexamic individuals, deaths from pneumonia can be reduced approximately by half.
The expert stated that pneumonia had received little or no attention in Nigeria although deaths from this disease among under-five children surpassed that from diarrhoea and malaria.
Professor Falade declared that pneumonia deaths in Nigeria are predominantly at the community, primary healthcare and secondary healthcare levels.
According to him, one of the major differences between the care of pneumonia in Nigeria at the tertiary healthcare level and other healthcare levels are the availability of oxygen.
He added, 'but oxygen is expensive and its timely delivery to secondary healthcare facilities is difficult in Nigeria. Among hospitals that already have some oxygen supply, it was prioritised for the operating theatre.'
He said that Nigeria scored only 30 per cent based on the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea interventions rating, although the required minimum is 84 per cent.
According to him, 'it is clearly evident that Nigeria is not on target to reach SDG3, except the work of Oxygen Implementation Project is built upon. Consequently, there is an urgent need for evidence-based and sustainable approaches to targeted childhood infections, and specifically pneumonia.
'Therefore, reducing pneumonia deaths will reduce under-five mortality, and subsequently prevent population explosion in Nigeria. At present, there is no significant reduction in fertility rate. Reducing population growth through family planning will be acceptable to poor families if they are assured that the chance of child survival is increased.'
Professor Falade said a situational analysis of the disease in Jigawa and Lagos found that care-seeking for children with pneumonia was poor in both states, with only 38.7 per cent and 31.4 per cent of caregivers from both states recognising at least one symptom of pneumonia.
The situational analysis also perceived a lack of guidelines and policies relating to pneumonia in children and knowledge of pneumonia at all levels of the health system is poor and plagued with misconceptions.
In addition, the situation analysis finding indicated that gender appeared to be an important aspect in healthcare provision and household decision making, but not in the decision to provide care based on the child's gender.?