14 Dec NIGERIA: Multiple high-level stakeholders resolve to end pneumonia
Article posted on December 15, 2016.
The road to ending pneumonia in Nigeria supported by government, civil society, and women leaders
This story is part of the 2016 round-up of World Pneumonia Day. Events and campaigns were held in many countries around the world to remind policymakers that pneumonia is still a silent killer taking the lives of many young children. Child health advocates and members of the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia organized various advocacy strategies to shine light on the need to continue the fight to bring an end to this disease.
On November 21, 2016, Nigeria marked World Pneumonia Day by holding a symposium to discuss pneumonia interventions and how the country can sustain them. The promising result: a set of resolutions reached by representatives from government, academia, pharmaceuticals, and civil society. Their combined commitment is to develop sustainable methods to make vaccines accessible and improve efforts to educate the community on pneumonia.
The event, “The Road to Ending Pneumonia in Nigeria,” took place under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Dr. Idris Musa, chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Council of Traditional Rulers and a member of the Northern Traditional Rulers Committee on Primary Health Care.
The engagement of other high-level leaders, such as Her Excellency Dr. Zainab Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor, and the 131 participants from diverse sectors not only illustrated a united front for child health, but also created accountability to act among the members. They were brought together by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA); the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA); with support from GlaxoSmithKline.
While participants noted important progress—including a ten-year freeze on the price of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) following Nigeria’s transition from financial support from Gavi—they also called for further reduction in the cost of PCVs and other vaccines.
IVAC presented the preliminary findings of the 2016 Pneumonia Rapid Assessment Study, which evaluates the state of pneumonia interventions in Nigeria and made recommendations for improvement. According to the study, lack of quality data is one of the biggest issues the country is facing to properly fight pneumonia and diarrhea. IVAC strives to accelerate equitable and sustainable access to vaccines through the generation, synthesis, and use of evidence to inform decision making and action.
In addition, an announcement was made about the launch of the Pneumonia Video Challenge by WAVA, Direct Consulting and Logistics (DCL), and GSK, which will run through January 31, 2016. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top three social media videos that raise awareness about the pneumonia burden in Nigeria and value of immunization.
The following resolutions were reached by government and partners:
- The Federal Ministry of Health, NPHCDA, partners, and private sector will develop and implement strategies to ensure sustainable local resource mobilization, in order to secure uninterrupted and equitable access to vaccines in Nigeria.
- The Federal Government should make budgetary provision in 2017 for the Basic Health Care Fund as stipulated by the National Health Act 2014.
- Partners will continue to synergize with and support the government of Nigeria in the efforts to end pneumonia, including hosting the yearly commemoration of World Pneumonia Day.
- Local Government Area authorities and traditional rulers should implement community awareness and social mobilization activities to educate the people on practices that protect children from pneumonia, including vaccination, exclusive breastfeeding, and improved sanitation.
- States and local government should strengthen the primary health care centers by ensuring the availability of infrastructure, trained health workers, and antibiotics required for prompt diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia and other childhood killer diseases.
- The media should use their platforms to sensitize the public on how to prevent pneumonia and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Civil society organizations should scale up their advocacy and hold government at all levels accountable to ensure adequate funding for vaccine procurement and logistics.
Wife of the Nigerian president and celebrities raise the profile of World Pneumonia Month in Nigeria
This year, the Every Breath Counts campaign declared November in Nigeria Pneumonia Month.
Why? Given that Nigeria has the second highest pneumonia mortality in the world among children under five, the disease needs more attention than just one day. Using social and traditional media, Pneumonia Month was dedicated to raising awareness of the prevalence and burden in the country.
Every Breath Counts is a global platform that unites diverse partners from across many sectors to raise awareness of pneumonia as the leading killer of children and to catalyze investment in prevention and community access to appropriate treatment. Pneumonia Month is just one example of their year-round efforts, led by UNICEF and Speak Up Africa, a creative communication and advocacy organization working to improve public health and education.
Building upon the participation and endorsement of the wife of the President of Nigeria, Her Excellency Aisha Muhammadu Buhari’s, the campaign featured nationally recognized influencers, who have a particularly strong influence in the north. Since the burden and mortality is the highest in the north, they recruited three famous Kannywood celebrities: Hadiza Aliyu, Rahama Sadau, and Ali Nuhu.
By recruiting celebrities, Every Breath Counts reached the general public through trusted spokesmen and women to raise the profile of pneumonia. They have each raised their voices to speak up against pneumonia in various television and radio public service announcements (PSAs), to be aired through January 2017. The campaign also produced a series of fliers with key messages educating families about prevention and treatment of pneumonia.
Plus, Ali Nuhu (@alinuhu) led a twitter chat to discuss his role in the campaign on November 11, allowing his fans and the public to ask questions. During the one-hour session, the chat was guided by facts and statistics on pneumonia. In this way, Every Breath Counts built an open channel of communication about a disease that affects thousands, yet not often discussed.
Northern Nigeria Influencers
Name: Hadiza Aliyu Gabon
Hadiza Aliyu, also known as Hadiza Gabon (born June 1, 1989), is a Nigerian actress and filmmaker. She is regarded as one of the most popular actresses in Kannywood and a good role model. Hadiza is currently an ambassador for MTN Nigeria and has won the Best Actress Jury Award at the 2nd Kannywood/MTN Awards.
Rahama Ibrahim Sadau is a Hausa actress (born December 17, 1993) from Kaduna, Nigeria. She won the Best Actress (Kannywood) Award at the City People Awards 2014. She also won Best African Actress at the 19th African Film Awards by African Voice, Britain’s No. 1 African Newspaper. Rahama has recently debuted in Nigeria’s Nollywood Industry.
In addition to acting in films, Rahama participates in charity work and most recently visited an IDP camp in Wasa, Abuja, Nigeria, which was organized by the charitable initiative Ray of Hope.
Ali Nuhu (born March, 18 1974) is a Nigerian actor, producer, director, and television personality. Referred to in the media as the “King of Kannywood,” “Sarki Ali,” or “King Ali,” he has appeared in hundreds Kannywood and 80 Nollywood films, and earned numerous accolades.