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Pneumonia Day: Expert warns against exposure to tobacco smoke, indoor air pollution

A pulmonologist, Dr Abel Kanji, has stressed the need to avoid tobacco smoke and reduce exposure to indoor air pollution to check the risk of pneumonia in children.

tobacco smoking
According to scientists, tobacco smoking is dangerous to health

Kanji, a physician who specialises in the respiratory system, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in Abuja, on the commemoration of the World Pneumonia Day.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs get filled with pus and fluid.

World Pneumonia Day is observed globally on Nov. 12 to highlight the severity of pneumonia and brings people from all over the world to promote the prevention and treatment of the disease.

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The theme for 2019 is “Healthy Lungs for All” which aims to promote lung health globally.

The pulmonologist said that to end the preventable burden of childhood pneumonia and deaths, there was need for government to raise continuous awareness about the ailment.

Kanji appealed to government to strengthen, accelerate and sustain interventions toward preventing and treating pneumonia.

He advised governments to design specific strategies to reach the “hard-to reach” populations to improve accessibility to available interventions and urged experts to conduct research to develop innovative strategies to reduce the burden of pneumonia in the country.

He added that “together with the government, we can end preventable deaths from pneumonia.”

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Kanji said that pneumonia was also a common cause of death or illness in the elderly.

He explained that pneumonia was largely preventable, noting that with good nutrition, including exclusive breastfeeding in the first four to six months of life and adequate complementary foods, could protect children from pneumonia.

He said that “comprehensive immunisation, including vaccines against common germs that cause pneumonia such as pneumococcus, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and influenza should be available to all children to prevent pneumonia.

“Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, early use of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV-infected and exposed children, can reduce the burden of childhood pneumonia.”

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The physician added that pneumonia was largely treatable with timely access to appropriate management, including antibiotics, referral to hospital and oxygen when needed. 

By Abujah Rachael

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