Remembering Past World Pneumonia Events: Côte d’Ivoire

Remembering Past World Pneumonia Events: Côte d’Ivoire

This story was a part of the World Pneumonia Day 2017 Global Activities Round-Up Series. In 2017, countries all around the world held many of their own World Pneumonia Day events and campaigns. Global activities ensured that the message to “Stop Pneumonia: Invest in Child Health” resonated with policymakers, donors, and other stakeholders. In Côte d’Ivoire, health workers, community leaders, companies, and public authorities joined forces to raise awareness of the second leading cause of infant mortality in the country.

Article posted on June 7, 2018

By Mamadou Diallo|Counsel in Public Affairs for Association Graine d’Ivoire et Santé (AGIS)

Edited by Mica Williams, Swati Sudarsan, and Julie Younkin, International Vaccine Access Center

Recognizing the significant contribution of poor air quality to Cote d’Ivoire’s high burden of childhood pneumonia, advocates from AGIS, Association Graine d’Ivoire et Sante, have been working to convene government, academic and technical partners to chart a way forward on air pollution, aiming to Stop Pneumonia’s impact on Ivoirian children.  In Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, civil society leaders and public authorities came together on World Pneumonia Day 2017, to discuss the links between air quality and childhood pneumonia.  A youth soccer tournament targeted awareness among kids and families and was featured in local media. Read on for highlights from our advocate partners at AGIS.

AGIS and partners celebrate World Pneumonia Day 2017 in Côte d’Ivoire

Indoor Air Pollution and Pneumonia

In anticipation of World Pneumonia Day, a round table discussion was held on November 10th, titled “Indoor air pollution threatens the health of children- a focus on pediatric pneumonia.” The event was held under the patronage of Dr. Goudou Coffie Raymonde, Gavi Board Member and Côte D’Ivoire’s Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, and Dr. Timité Marguerite, pediatrician and President of the Ivorian Society of Pediatrics. The roundtable featured several facets of the fight against pneumonia through the presentations of health professionals, researchers, mothers, social entrepreneurs and Auntie Valérie, a fish smoker.

In introducing the panel, Dr. Kacou Yves Raoul, of the Maternal and Child Health Programme, emphasized the importance of vaccines in combating pneumonia. This messaging aligned with the re-emphasis  on vaccination taking place nationally . Since 2014,  much progress has been made on immunization, including introductions of rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines into the routine immunization system, the declaration of 2017 as the “year of vaccination,” and most recently, a partnership between Gavi, Orange SA, and the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Health to launch “M-Vaccin Côte d’Ivoire”mobile phone project to boost immunization coverage in rural regions with the lowest coverage rates.

During the panel, Dr. Yoboué Véronique of the presented the preliminary results of ongoing investigations of air pollution and health, which to date have characterized the composition, dynamics and other properties of the atmosphere in one area of the country. This study measures urban emissions in Abidjan in 2016 and evaluated corresponding health data. It is part of an international long-term effort to share evidence and promote awareness of the health consequences of air pollution in Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa.

Mr. Sylla Aboukakar, President of the  Association Graine D’Ivoire Et Santé (AGIS),  emphasized that poor air quality contributes to 50% of deaths from pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by indoor air pollution, a consequence of heating homes and cooking with biomass fuels and coals. The panel called for an integrated strategy to address indoor air pollution inclusive of and in synergy with environmental and natural conservation priorities . Recommendations to reduce indoor air pollution through promotion of behavior change and technological innovations are part of this new strategy including:

1) reduction of wood consumption to improve indoor air quality and forest sustainability;

2) promotion of behavior change over the whole value chain, from sound forest management to culinary preferences (eg. grilled food consumption) including women fish processors’ health;

3) use of alternative, safer stove ovens for indoor cooking which reduce the inhalation of smoke and particulate matter such as the “Tika Oven”, produced in Bingerville (near Abidjan); and

4) technological innovations to measure and monitor air pollution in order to adopt effective health-focused policies.

The Tika Oven, a sustainable alternative stove oven to reduce indoor air pollution while cooking.

Awareness online and across Africa

AGIS believes that children should be part of building awareness and prevention of childhood pneumonia and organized “Soccer against Pneumonia”,  a tournament for school-aged children, taking place at Abidjan’s classical high school. The event was hosted by Ivoire Académie, a football academy in Abidjan, on November 11th. Over 120 students under the age of 15 took part in the event which aimed to raise awareness of pneumonia and promote a healthy lifestyle to the youth involved.

The 2017 “Soccer Against Pneumonia” tournament

A media campaign was organized by civil society leaders, which featured media celebrities, such as Ms. N’dri Marie-Ynes, Ms. Kuny Mélaine, Ms, Prissy and Mr. Celio. The campaign touted  “a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy environment” through online media and Côte d’Ivoire’s main TV channel, RTI.

In addition, AGIS supported the “33 days to Power Up Immunization” advocacy campaign which called for Organized by civil society across Africa, the campaign was a fourteen-month long advocacy effort organized as a sequel to the 2017 African Vaccination Week.

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