Experts advise preventive measures to fight pneumonia

Parents get worried if children are sick and spend millions on the disease but precautions can avoid loss

The seminar was held to raise awareness on pneumonia. PHOTO: JALAL QURESHI

KARACHI: Breast feeding acts like the first vaccine of the child against pneumonia. If a child is breast fed regularly for six months then that child can stay protected from pneumonia for one year. However, due to increasing number of deaths of children caused by pneumonia, measures must be taken to reduce death rate of children.

These views were expressed by Prof Ghaffar Billo, Pakistan Paediatric Association's General Secretary Dr Mushtaq Memon, Prof Iqbal Memon, Dr Nand Lal and Prof Khalid Mehmood while addressing a seminar on International Pneumonia Day Awareness. The seminar was organised by the Express Media Group in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Company (GSK) and Zafa Pharmaceutical Company at a local hotel. GSK Medical Director Yousuf Khan, Azfar Nizami and Kamran Ahmed from Express Media Group and others attended the seminar.

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While addressing the seminar, special guest Prof Billo said that millions of children are dying due to pneumonia. He said Pakistan's total population is 200 million, according to which Pakistan is listed at number six in the world and three million children are dying in Pakistan due to pneumonia and diarrhoea, and the first part of budget should be allocated for health. Addressing the mothers, he said that if a mother feeds her kid for six months regularly then the kid can remain protected from pneumonia for a year. According to research, half the country's rural population lives in the same part of the house where food is cooked which can cause pulmonary diseases, he said. He added that the Rota Virus Vaccine, which is used to stay protected from diarrhoea, has now been introduced in Pakistan.

Dr Mushtaq Memon said that pneumonia is a disease of lungs' infection and preventive measures need to be taken at every level to prevent the loss of children's lives. Prof Iqbal Memon added that the reason for celebrating International Pneumonia Day is to create awareness about the deaths caused by pneumonia.  Kids up to five years of age suffer from pneumonia, if parents get their children vaccinated on time then children can stay protected from diseases, he said. Prof Iqbal added that vaccines are being used frequently in many countries and produce good results. Timely vaccination is important to decrease the increasing number of children's deaths and our motive is to send this message to the public so that they can take preventive measures such as a healthy diet, mother's milk and clean hands which can provide protection from many diseases, he said.

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Dr Lal said that it hurts that 99% children are dying because of this disease. Parents get worried if children are sick and spend millions on the disease but precautions can avoid loss, he said. Prof Mehmood said that along with the reason of pneumonia it is important to know how to stay protected from it.

At the end of the ceremony the Express Media Group presented honorary shields to special guests Prof Billo and all the medical experts.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2018.


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