Experts chart path to reduction in pneumonia, meningitis burden
As Pfizer launches Nimenrix in Nigeria
Worried by the significant health burden posed by meningococcal and pneumococcal diseases globally, medical experts in Nigeria have called for early diagnosis and vaccination in paediatrics and adults, in order to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate attributable to these diseases.
The adept medical practitioners, who spoke at the Pfizer’s West African Vaccine Summit 2017, said it is unacceptable to be losing a large percentage of the Nigerian population to preventable diseases like meningitis and pneumonia, with the availability of effective vaccines to prevent the attacks.
Delivering a paper titled: “Expanded age BOD pneumococcal /PCV 13 expanded indication”, Dr Osi-Ogbu Ogugua, chief consultant and head of Geriatric/Endocrinology unit at the National Hospital Abuja, identified chronic liver disease and chronic kidney disease, predisposing factors to invasive pneumococcal disease.
While attributing 60 per cent of childhood death to pneumococcal disease, she mentioned measles as a predisposing factor to the disease in paediatrics, stating that under 5 children and the aged are at higher risk of the disease.
Still on pneumococcal disease, Dr Adejomoke I. Ayede, a senior lecturer in the department of paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, disclosed the mortality rate of pneumonia in Nigeria as at 2008 to be 177,000, lamenting the paucity of current data.
She also described meningococcal disease as a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide with reported epidemics and outbreaks in different parts of the world. Despite the availability of antimicrobial therapy, challenges remain in early recognition and prevention of disease. Several vaccines have been developed to date aiming at the prevention of the disease.
Going forward, Ayede recommended the use of PCV 13, Prevenar 13 and Nimenrix – as tested and proven vaccines for the prevention of broadest serotype pneumococcal disease and meningococcal disease respectively. Aside the use of vaccines for prevention, she did mentioned adequate nutrition, proper hygiene, a sound immune system, keeping the body warm in cold weather, and micro supplements as other preventive methods against the diseases.
Fielding questions from press men, Professor of Medicine, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State Nigeria, Gregory Erhabor, explained the essence of the summit, saying it is imperative for stakeholders to improve their knowledge on service delivery in order to have the best patients outcome.
He said Pfizer Nigeria has deemed it fit to update healthcare practitioners on the latest trend in the management of preventable diseases, in order for them to compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world, and to have a formidable healthcare team in the country.
Director of Corporate Affairs, Pfizer NEAR, Mrs Margret Olele explained the efforts of Pfizer in combating meningitis and pneumonia in Nigeria, especially for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). She stated that they have made their products highly affordable for these set of persons, by giving them more than 60 percent price slash, and which will not be increased until ten years time.