KARACHI: Medical experts declared pneumonia as the leading cause of death among children aged under five years in Pakistan.
They were speaking at a seminar on the occasion of World Pneumonia Day. The event was jointly organised by the Pakistan Paediatric Association (PPA) Sindh and Glaxo Smith-Kline (GSK), in collaboration with OMI Hospital and Express Media Group, in Karachi.
Pakistan is currently ranked fourth among the most-affected countries by pneumonia.
According to the experts, the main reason for the rising incidence of pneumonia cases in Pakistan is the slow process of vaccination and parents not getting their children vaccinated.
Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA) President Dr Ghulam Rasool Buriro addressed the ceremony and stated that 92,000 children die from the disease every year in the country.
PPA Secretary General Professor Mumtaz Lakhani said that everyone is aware of how pneumonia occurs but the need was to address the issue of disease eradication.
“Pneumonia is the number one cause of deaths of children under the age of five years,” he said. “However, we are treating it by following the WHO [World Health Organisation) and UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] guidelines.”
He added that Sindh has enough anti-pneumonia vaccines, but the problem has been its administration to the children. “If the process [of vaccination] is accelerated, the disease can be eliminated from the root,” he said.
National Institute of Child Health (NICH) Director Dr Jamal Raza stressed that the health experts need to know the causes behind the disease’s outbreak.
“Immunisation, breast milk, protection from pollution and a balanced diet can help protect children from getting pneumonia,” he said. “By breastfeeding, children can avoid many diseases.”
Dr Iqbal Memon stressed the need to pay attention to the increasing rate of deaths of children in the country and urged the government to play its role in mitigating the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2019.