As the world marks World Pneumonia Day, the people of Gombe State have been encouraged to immunize their children for all the Nigerian National Programme on Immunization schedule vaccines, to prevent pneumonia in children.
Speaking during a sensitization campaign to parents at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Gombe to mark the World Pneumonia Day, a Pediatrician with the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Dr. Mercy Raymond, said some of the micro-organisms that cause pneumonia, were vaccine preventable and treatable infections.
Dr. Raymond discouraged parents from taking their children to chemists, because only a doctor could determine the kind of pneumonia a patient had.
According to her, pneumonia is one of the five leading causes of child mortality all over the world, especially in Nigeria.
For Pediatrician, Dr. Yasangra Rabo Adeniji, Congenital Pneumonia is a form of a pneumonia that a child is born with, acquired while still in the womb.
She said the aim of the sensitization was to teach pregnant women the danger signs and the risk factors, so that they could identify it early, come to the hospital and prevent babies from contacting that kind of pneumonia.
“If a woman starts draining or if the water breaks, for up to 18 hour before delivery, the child can contact it from ascending infection. Bacteria can go up into the womb and affect the child. And then another thing when the mother is bleeding before delivery or the mother has fever or pain while passing urine. These are things that can predispose the child to congenital pneumonia,” said Dr. Adeniji.
She said parents could detect Congenital pneumonia in their babies with signs like fever, the child not crying at birth, difficulty in breathing or a child breathing fast, or having noisy breathing or labored breathing, and then if the baby could not suck and may be weak.
Dr. Adeniji said congenital pneumonia could be treated, because after admitting the child, the baby would be given antibiotics for the type of pneumonia caused by bacterial infection.
She said other organisms could cause pneumonia in children, but that the common one for congenital pneumonia was bacterial infection. So, it’s treatable with antibiotics.
The pediatrician advised the public to always take expectant mothers to the hospital, once they see rupture of membrane, while discouraging home delivery.
For Dr. Raymond, who spoke on pneumonia in general, he said pneumonia is divided between severe and non-sever pneumonia and that because it was difficult for lay people to differentiate between the two, she advised the public to always take their children to the hospital immediately, especially when they show signs of fever, difficulty in breathing and cough.
She equally cautioned against patronizing chemist, so that the right pneumonia would be detected in the hospital and the right treatment administered.
According to Dr. Raymond, Pneumonia is not a chronic disease, which usually presents as acute illness, but that if appropriately treated can be cured.
She however said it could re-occur after six months or one year, when a person does not treat it well.
“Immunosupression, such as diabetes, cancer, HIV Infection can trigger recurrent pneumonia and then some other genetic disorder like sickle cell anemia,” Dr. Raymond said.
The theme of the 2019 World Pneumonia Day is Ending preventable pneumonia deaths: a global priority.