Nigeria has in conjunction with pharmaceutical company GSK pledged not to increase the price of pneumonia vaccines for 10 years.
THISDAY reports that the plan would ensure that children in the country do not die of the disease, which is now the number one killer amongst children under five.
The report says that the International Vaccines Access Centre’s (IVAC) preliminary findings estimated that about 750,000 Nigerian children died in 2015 from disease and that “pneumonia is now the leading cause of child deaths in Nigeria, a position previously held by malaria. In 2015, about 17% (127,00 deaths) and 10% (75,000) of all under-five deaths including neo-natal deaths were caused by pneumonia and diarrhoea, respectively.”
Medical director of GSK, Dr Lana Odunuga, is quoted in the report as saying that GSK “has placed 10 years price freeze on pneumonia drugs as the country graduates from GAVI funds.” He said: “I just want to emphasise that we need consistency in our programmes. We have done very well in our policy making, we have done very well in our coordination. So it is just consistency and once we are consistent, we will get there. We need to start from somewhere and we are on a journey, we will get there. We are supporting the immunisation programme, we are providing the vaccines that are used for the prevention of pneumonia in children.”
According to the report, Odunuga blamed the activities of Boko Haram for the high figures of the disease in the recent times, stressing that, the effect of disruption of infrastructure led to displacement of people.
The report says the Emir of Jiwa, Alhaji Musa Idris gave the assurance that traditional leaders will continue to mobilise their subjects towards eradicating pneumonia in the rural areas of the country.THISDAY report