18 Nov Cross River State, NIGERIA Marks 2010 World Pneumonia Day
The Governor of Cross River State Senator, Liyel Imoke, has encouraged the medical practitioners to be current in their diagnoses on pneumonia so as to be conversant with its treatment options, to enable the State remain committed in the fight against all child’s killer diseases.
He stated this while declaring open a one-day stakeholder’s conference and capacity building workshop tagged PNEUMONIA ACTION+ to mark the 2010 World Pneumonia Day in the State.
The Governor, who reiterated health as the major concern of his administration promised to do every thing necessary to reduce the scourge of pneumonia in the State as project Hope and Comfort was a deliberate policy by his administration to reduce morbidity and mortality rate in the State.
The workshop was for Executive Council Members, Legislators, Academia, Parents, Caregivers and Health Practitioners in Cross River State. It was organized by Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment Realization (POWER) an NGO of Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, in partnership with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health USA, International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), Pfizer, Zolon Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Health and that of Women Affairs as well as First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
In her address, the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke and the Initiator of “POWER” a non governmental organization, described pneumonia as a sickness of the lungs which is characterized by cough, fever, fast breathing and difficulty in breathing. She further disclosed that pneumonia kills over two million children below the age of five years and that it is the highest killer of children under five, particularly in low and middle income countries.
She disclosed that the aim of the City Walk and the Stakeholder’s Conference/ Capacity building Workshop, was to bring to the notice, that pneumonia is a sickness of ignorance and a silent killer. Mrs. Liyel Imoke who revealed that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of deaths caused by pneumonia globally, said statistic by World Health Organization (WHO), stated that 117,000 children die every year in Nigeria from pneumonia and every hour 20 children die of pneumonia in Nigeria from this disease that has a preventable solution. Mrs. Imoke went on to say that “this frightening statistics is not only of grave concern to me, first as a mother and as a champion of creating an environment in our beloved State that is fit for our children by promoting healthy living but also presents an unarguable justification for my unrelenting fight against the disease and need for concerted multi-dimensional efforts in the fight against it’’.
The initiator of POWER, Mrs. Liyel Imoke, has made concerted efforts towards changing the pneumonia statistic. On May 28th 2010, her office facilitated and coordinated a “Kick –Out Pneumonia Campaign in Biase Local Government of the State and plans are afoot to take the pneumonia campaign to all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State.
While thanking all the sponsors of the event she called for more collaboration from the Civil Society Organizations, International Donors Agencies, and Government, to help in promoting preventive and curative healthcare services.
On his part the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Edet Ikpi disclosed the theme for this year’s World Pneumonia Day as – FIGHT PNEUMONIA: SAVE A CHILD. He explained that the high statistics attributed to pneumonia has to do more with ignorance and not poverty and identified appropriate information as a major key that can transform lives in the fight against pneumonia. He therefore charged the medical practitioners to take the workshop seriously so as to equip themselves with the latest information on pneumonia intervention.
In his contribution, the Medical Director, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, thanked Governor Liyel Imoke and his wife for choosing the UCTH Auditorium as the venue of the workshop and advised that pamphlets and other IEC materials be printed in local dialects for the benefit of the rural populace.
Professor Asindi Asindi, a consultant Pediatrician, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, in a lecture titled “PREVALENCE AND OVERVIEW OF PNEUMONIA IN CHILDREN”, said pneumonia is not a cause from God but a disease of the lungs with Nigeria and India dictating the pace. He identified smoking, poor housing, malnutrition, adult with cold and catarrh coming in contact with children as some of the factors that can cause pneumonia, while immunization, adequate ventilation, exclusive breastfeeding among others, can help prevent pneumonia.
A representative of Pfizer, Cassandra Anabuso, lectured the participants on the Pfizer new Vaccine against pneumonia.
Other doctors that presented papers at the workshop included; Dr. Atana Ewa Consultant Pediatrician UCTH, and Doctor Paul Agbulu Assistant Director Pharmacy UCTH amongst others.
The 2010 World Pneumonia Day witnessed a walk which was lead by the Governor’s wife Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke. The walk started from the General Hospital Calabar and terminated at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. IEC materials were distributed to people during the work.
Here are some pictures from the event: