– Celebrate World Pneumonia Day 2014
Sanofi, a leading multinational pharmaceutical company, and the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), have restated their commitment to tackling pneumonia among children in the country.
The two organisations made the pledge during a media parley organised to mark the World Pneumonia Day (WPD) 2014, held at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, recently. The theme of WPD 2014 was “Universal Access to Pneumonia Prevention and Care.”
Speaking at the press parley, Dr Fifen Inousa, medical director of Sanofi Nigeria and Ghana, announced a paediatric initiative, tagged, “Healthy Children, Happy Children”, which he said was being implemented in partnership with PAN.
Dr Inousa stressed that paediatrics was a priority for Africa because one child out of four in the world is in Africa and 50 per cent of the worldwide infant mortality occurs in Africa, adding that the Sanofi Paediatric Initiative was a crucial reinforcement of the company’s commitment to child health care.
Inousa stated that preventing pneumonia in Africa was a challenge Sanofi wanted to share in partnership with PAN and the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to Sanofi’s head of public affairs, Nigeria and Ghana, Oladimeji Agbolade, the initiative relies on three commitments, namely, development of medicines and vaccines by taking into account epidemiological profiles of countries; training and communication for healthcare professionals; and the deployment of information and educational activities for the general public, as well as follow-up tools for children.
Also speaking at the press parley, Prof. Adebiyi Olowu, president of PAN, urged the government to ensure that all children in the country had access to not only proper pneumonia care but free health care at all levels of government.
He specifically urged the federal government to ensure the availability of the Pneumococcus Conjugate Vaccine (PVC) by December as it had promised, bemoaning the repeated change of dates of introduction of the PVC.
Agbolade further noted that the rolling out of the vaccine was crucial to efforts aimed at ensuring that Nigeria exits the league of nations of high child mortality, adding that countries that are not as endowed as Nigeria like Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, were already using the PVC.