Nigeria marks World Pneumonia Day 2016 with leaders in healthcare

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WAVA in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA); the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC); and with support from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), organized a one-day symposium to mark the World Pneumonia Day on November 21, 2016 at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja. The symposium tagged ‘The Road to Ending Pneumonia in Nigeria’ – which is in line with the global theme, ‘Keep the Promise, Stop Pneumonia Now’– was aimed at discussing pneumonia interventions, including setting up sustainable and achievable actions to ensure equitable vaccines access, as well as improving the awareness/education of communities on pneumonia.

Chaired by His Royal Highness Dr. Idris Musa, chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Council of Traditional Rulers and a member of the Northern Traditional Rulers Committee on Primary Health Care, participants discussed veritable gains in the fight against pneumonia. Much to the delight of participants, GSK made a commitment to establish a ten-year freeze on the price of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) following Nigeria’s transition from financial support from Gavi. Calls were also made for further reduction in the cost of PCVs and other vaccines. Traditional rulers also pledged their support towards pneumonia programming and interventions.

Country Program Lead of IVAC, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, presented the preliminary findings of a 2016 Pneumonia Rapid Assessment Study. The study evaluated the current situation of pneumonia interventions in Nigeria and made recommendations for improvement. It was found that lack of quality data is one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria in the fight against pneumonia and diarrhea.

The event also witnessed the launch of the Pneumonia Video Challenge by WAVA, Direct Consulting and Logistics (DCL), and GSK, which ran through December 31, 2016. Winners will be announced by the end of January 2017 and monetary prizes will be awarded to the top three social media videos that raise awareness about the pneumonia burden in Nigeria and value of immunization.

Notable attendees at the event include Her Excellency Dr. Zainab Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor; Dr. Emmanuel Odu, Acting Executive Director NPHCDA; Dr. Laja Odunuga, representative of the Managing Director GSK; Dr. Patience Ahmed, Head of Department Pediatrics at the National Hospital Abuja; M. M. Abubakar, Deputy Director of Advocacy NPHCDA; Eugene Ivase, Head of Department Communications NPHCDA; and Mrs. Chika Offor, representing WAVA and Chief Oversight Officer of the Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC). The occasion witnessed about 131 participants from diverse sectors who demonstrated unison for improved child health to prevent pneumonia, and the need for accountability among stakeholders in program implementation.

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