A new study says about two million Nigerian children under the age of five could die from pneumonia in the next decade.
According to the report, Nigeria currently records more than 20 percent of childhood deaths from pneumonia globally.
The report said boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert the over 2 million child deaths from the disease and other major diseases in Nigeria.
The modelling of the report, by Johns Hopkins University, was released just as nine leading health and children’s agencies hosted the world’s first global conference on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid.
The report said the disease is the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 percent of under-five deaths.
It listed malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics among the drivers of pneumonia.
It, however, said an estimated 809,000 of these deaths would be averted by significantly scaling up services to prevent and treat pneumonia.
“Researchers also found boosting pneumonia services would create an additional ‘ripple effect’, preventing 1.2 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time,” the report said.
“Interventions like improving nutrition, increasing vaccine coverage or boosting breastfeeding rates –key measures that reduce the risk of children dying from pneumonia – would also stop thousands of child deaths from diseases like diarrhoea (580,000), meningitis (68,000), measles (55,000) and malaria (4,000).
“By 2030, that effect would be so large that pneumonia interventions alone would avert over 2 million predicted under-five child deaths in Nigeria from all causes combined.”