The Vice Chairman of Anambra State Chapter, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Prof. Peter Katchy, has said that pneumonia is the number one killer of children under-5, claiming more young lives than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.
He said pneumonia is a preventable and treatable disease that sickens 155 million children under 5 and kills 1.6 million people each year globally.
Speaking with journalists in Awka, Anambra State, Katchy, said there are effective vaccines against the two most common causes of deadly pneumonia.
“Pneumonia is one of the commonest manifestations of pneumococcal disease. It may occur in subjects of any age, but it is encountered most frequently in the very young and in the old.
“It spreads from person to person by droplet infection. Clinical observations and studies in experimental animals suggest that most causes of pneumonia result from aspiration of nasopharyngeal secretions containing pneumococci into alveoli.
“Once established in the lung, pneumococci may spread to adjacent pleura or pericardium. About one-third of patients with pneumococcal pneumonia have a positive blood culture, and bacteria may spread through the systemic circulation to reach the joints, eyes, or other distant sites,” he said.
According to Katchy, an increase in susceptibility to pneumococcal infection may result from defects in either local or systemic defense mechanisms.
He said patients with sickle cell disease have an increased incidence of pneumococcal infection.
The expert said all hands must be on deck to ensure the fight against pneumonia was won, and urged health care providers, researchers, policy makers and the greater public health community to contribute towards reducing diseases and death due to pneumonia.
Daily Trust News