UNICEF appeals for govt’s commitment in fighting childhood pneumonia

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By Earlene Chimoyo

 

Government is being asked to improve its investment and commitment into the prevention of respiratory disease in children if child deaths are to be minimized.

A latest analysis on child mortality has shown that if the government makes efforts towards the cause , 49 000 children can be saved from pneumonia related death.

The call has been made by the UNICEF in a joint statement with save the children.

Their call comes as global health leaders are meeting in Barcelona Spain at the first global forum on childhood pneumonia.

The forum aims at making deliberate ploy to have world leaders to prioritize killer infectious killer of children in their national agendas and raise awareness on the dangers of pneumonia.

 Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and it results in difficulty in breathing as lungs are filled with pus and fluid.

Globally, it is one of the major causes of death in  children under the age of five, and it is high in  the world’s poorest countries and affecting  the most deprived and marginalised children.

“We can save thousands of children by scaling up interventions that protect children from infection and providing adequate  and timely treatment when and where  sick children need it, said Rudolf Schwenk UNICEF Malawi representative.

Another stakeholder Save the Children is of the view that children can be saved from preventable diseases such as pneumonia if various stakeholders work together.

“World leaders must increase their attention to pneumonia and take action to prevent and treat it to achieve the goal of ending child death by 2030,” Said the Save the Children Country Director Kim Koch.

However there are still grey areas that are blocking Malawi’s quest to cutting pneumonia cases.

Some of the challenges in Malawi ‘s management of pneumonia  include shortage of health workers, at community level inadequate equipment for diagnosis and treatment .

“The management of Acute Respiratory Infections is part of the Essential Health care Package (EHP) and is a priority in the Health Sector Strategic Plan. We are working with local and international partners within a multi-sectoral approach to prevent Acute Respiratory Infections deaths,” explains Joshua Malango, Public Relations Officer in  the Ministry of Health and Population.

 

The first global conference on childhood pneumonia opened on Thursday this week   to agree on concrete steps governments and their partners can take to reduce child pneumonia deaths.

 

Ministers of Health from 16 countries including Malawi are attending the Forum and are expected to make major commitments in the fight against pneumonia

 

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