By Angela Atabo/Aderogba George
Abuja – Ms Florence Otedola, aka DJ Cuppy, on Monday said she raised over N5.1billion to support Save the Children International Nigeria to tackle children related diseases.
She made this known at a news conference to mark the World Pneumonia Day in collaboration with Save the Children, an NGO in Abuja.
Otedola said that the amount was raised through the Cuppy foundation project to Save Children.
DJ Cuppy said that children suffer from so many diseases ranging from malnutrition and pneumonia among others so there was need for Nigerians to rise up and help to curb them.
“We need to ensure that children have access to clean water, and make sure they are not in air polluted areas that way they will be least prone to these diseases,” she said
Earlier, Mr Kevin Watkins ,Chief Executive Director ,Save the Children UK ,said that pneumonia was a leading killer of children causing 19 per cent of under-five deaths .
Watkins said pneumonia killed 162,000 children in 2018 making Nigeria the highest in terms of deaths globally.
He said that the data was gotten from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation 2019 and also from Save the Children’s Child Inequality Tracker .
According to him, Pneumonia is caused by bacteria ,viruses or fungi and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid .
“Globally, 802,000 children under the age of five died from pneumonia in 2018, more than from any other disease ,by comparison ,437,000 children under five died due to diarrhea and 272,000 to Malaria.
“Just five countries were responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths :Nigeria 162,000,India 127,000,Pakistan 58,000,the Democratic Republic of Congo 40,000 and Ethiopia 32,000.
“This is a forgotten global health epidemic that demands a greater international response ;millions of children are dying for want of vaccines ,affordable antibiotics and routine oxygen treatment .
“Pneumonia crisis is a symptom of neglect and indefensible inequalities in access to health care .”
Watkins said that recent analysis found out that Nigerian children born in the poorest households were nearly three times more likely to die from diseases like pneumonia before their fifth birthday compared the richest children .
He said that investment in the health sector was very critical as the current three per cent was not enough .
He said that more than 40 per cent of one-year-olds in Nigeria were unvaccinated and three in four children suffering from pneumonia symptoms do not get access to medical treatment .
He said that there was need to ensure that vaccines got to the poorest of the poor to curb the disease .
Dr Adamu Isah ,Chief of Party ,Inspiring Project ,Save the Children,Nigeria said that children suffering from malnutrition or those that have their immune systems weakened by other infections and those living in air polluted areas were prone to the disease .
Isah said that the organisation supported the Federal Ministry of Health to produce a roadmap to help in combating the disease .
He urged health care givers to pay attention to the symptoms of pneumonia in order to dictate it early enough to combat it .(NAN)