Dr Gbemisola Boyede, Consultant Paediatrician and Founder of Ask The Paediatricians, an NGO, says delay in diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia can lead to death of a child.
Boyede disclosed this in an interview in Abuja in commemoration of the World Pneumonia Day, annually celebrated on Nov. 12 to champion the fight against pneumonia and educate the public on preventive measures and appropriate treatment for the disease.
According to her, pneumonia is a general term for infections of the lungs, with symptoms such as high fever associated with chills, cough, very fast and noisy breathing.
Others include vomiting, chest pain, abdominal pain, which often happen because a child is coughing and working hard to breathe.
Weakness, loss of appetite and bluish or gray colour lips are other symptoms of the disease.
The consultant explained that pneumonia is one of the killer diseases of children under the age of five years, especially in low and middle income countries.
“This is often due to late presentation at the hospital for treatment to enable a doctor to examine the child to confirm the diagnosis of pneumonia.
“Delay in diagnosis and treatment is responsible for the high number of deaths from pneumonia, especially in children under five years.
“There is no reason for any child to die of pneumonia. There are well-known preventive strategies,” she said.
The paediatrician, therefore, advised parents to ensure they engaged in exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of a child’s life to protect the baby from respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Boyede also advised that vaccines, well ventilated rooms, avoidance of air pollution, adequate nourishing meals were necessary to prevent pneumonia.