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Early diagnosis of pneumonia is vital

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By Usman Oladimeji

Proper and frequent checkup is important for early diagnosis, treatment.

A medical consultant at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) named Dr. Oluwafemi Ojo has stressed the relevance of World Pneumonia Day (WPD) in increasing awareness of the prevalence of the disease and the factors that contribute to its emergence. With the theme “Championing the Fight Against Pneumonia,” this year’s World Pneumonia Day (WPD) aims to raise awareness among the public about the dangers of pneumonia and to encourage politicians to implement preventive measures to minimize the disease’s spread.

This is also a wake up call for all stakeholders and practitioners in the health sector to be proactive in the course of mitigating the impact of pneumonia at the local and international levels. While pneumonia continues to remain a deadly disease claiming the lives of numerous people worldwide, especially children, policymakers and other major agencies in the sectors need to prioritize seeking an efficacious approach to curb the menace and prevent further spreading across nations.

Pneumonia kills more children than any other infectious disease.

Thus, there is a need for advocacy strategies to draw attention to the need to execute health alleviation policies in the course of mitigating the impact of the disease. A report by the World Health Organization shows that Pneumonia kills more children than any other infectious disease, claiming the lives of over 700,000 children under five every year, or around 2,000 every day. In 2019, pneumonia killed 740,180 children under the age of 5, accounting for 22% of all deaths in children aged 1 to 5 years.

In 2021, UNICEF revealed that Nigeria has the highest number of overall air pollution-related pneumonia deaths of children under-five in the world and the highest number of household air pollution-related pneumonia deaths among children under five. Approximately 185 children under the age of five die every day from pneumonia due to air pollution in Nigeria. The majority of them are from air pollution in the household, including that from cooking over open fires or cookstoves in the home.

Access to equipped facilities is imperative to achieve universal coverage.

There is a need for improved hygiene and environmental sanitation, as well as Improved immunization, especially among under-aged children in rural and urban areas across the county. Again people should avoid cooking with domestic gas and electricity, among others, to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution, as these trigger pneumonia. Access to quality-equipped healthcare facilities is also imperative to achieve universal healthcare coverage. Improved access to comprehensive health insurance is also needed to reduce out-of-pocket payments among Nigerians.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by different germs such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. A proper and frequent checkup is important for every Nigerian, at least two times a year, in order to help induce early diagnosis and treatment. Pneumonia infection shows symptoms such as fever, chills, chest pain, coughing up phlegm, which can be blood-stained or bloody, difficulty in breathing, and weakness. Anyone experiencing these signs should visit the nearest hospital.

The infection can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene.

While pneumonia is a dire disease, it can also be prevented by maintaining a hygienic environment. Our hands should always be clean after going to the toilet, before eating and consistently. Healthcare providers should clean their hands before and after having contact with a patient. However, the treatment of pneumonia depends on its underlying causes. For instance, antibiotics could be used if the underlying cause is bacteria. Other supportive treatments may include fluids, analgesics, and oxygen, among others. Children’s pneumonia treatment also depends on the type and severity.

Related Link

WHO: Website

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