Pneumonia Day: Expert says disease can be prevented in children under 5 through proper nutrition


By Blessing Odega

Jos, Nov. 12, 2020 As the world marks Pneumonia Day, a consultant pathologist, Doctor Innocent Emmanuel, says proper dieting for children under five years of age will boost their immunity to enable them to combat diseases such as pneumonia.

Naija247news reports that the World Pneumonia Day is being celebrated all over the world on Nov.12, every year, through various events and activities related to pneumonia.

The day holds great significance as pneumonia is the leading infectious killer of children under the age of five.

The day promotes intervention in protecting children against the disease,as well as preventing and treating pneumonia.

Emmanuel, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Plateau chapter, stated this in an interview with NAN on Thursday in Jos.

He said that children under five years of age were usually more susceptible to pneumonia due to their immunity level which was not as high as that of an adult.

He said pneumonia could be prevented by improving the nutrition of the child, recommending that every child below five years should have adequate nutrition, and this should include exclusive breast feeding for children of below six months of age.

According to the medical expert, in a case where the baby can’t be breast fed exclusively, supplementary diet that provides adequate nutritional value to the child should be given.

He further said that breastfeeding should continue for the first two years of life, and that afterward, the child should be appropriately fed.

He said that adequate nutrition would stimulate the immune system within the body of the child which would help combat diseases.

According to the Plateau NMA chairman, even when the child develops pneumonia, the adequate nutrition given to him has built and strengthened his immunity, and the disease, therefore, will be less severe on him, when compared to a child that is poorly fed and has a compromised immunity.

He said pneumonia was an acute infection of the lungs which was preventable and treatable and as such, the high deaths tolls associated with it should be less.

He called on parents and care givers to imbibe the act of maintaining good hygiene, hand washing, and living in clean environment and well ventilated houses as these could help hinder the organisms that caused pneumonia.

The pathologist advised parents and guardians to ensure that their children and wards were vaccinated, as the vaccines served as a means of mitigating various childhood diseases.

He also called on the government to strengthen the health insurance scheme to accommodate more people, especially those whom were not affluent.

“People don’t need to be affluent to get treated for their various health conditions,”he said.

The medical expert urged people to ensure that they enrolled into health insurance schemes which would help to carter for their health needs.

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