REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Kenya joins rest of the world in marking World Pneumonia Day

The uptake of health promotion and prevention interventions along with access to quality New-born and Child Health care services and treatment have been cited as key in dealing with the challenge posed by pneumonia.
In a speech read on her behalf by acting director preventive and promotive health services Dr. Andrew Mulwa during celebrations to mark the world pneumonia day, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha said the disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths in children under five years despite being easily preventable and treatable.
“Although vaccines and other preventative efforts are decreasing the burden of the disease, much more work is still required. Those living in poor communities are at highest risk of pneumonia. Every child, regardless of where they are born, deserves access to lifesaving vaccines and medicines.” Observed the health CS.
She however said Kenya has made steady progress in improving child health outcomes in the last decade with child mortality having declined by almost thirty percent since 2008. This she attributed to increased uptake of ORS and Zinc for the management of diarrhoea in children under five years; improved exclusive breastfeeding practices; introduction of new childhood vaccines like pneumococcal and rotavirus; increased level of ownership; use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and the scale up of skilled birth attendants.
Speaking at the same event, head of the neonatal and child health division at the ministry Dr. Caroline Mwangi said Pneumonia is the number one killer of children after the neonatal period, but suffers in
terms of visibility, financial investments, and research funding. She however said that the Ministry of health has introduced and scaled up interventions that have a long-term impact on mitigating these causes in line with the frameworks of pneumonia interventions of ‘Protect, Prevent and Treat’.
According to UNICEF country representative Jeanne Lokenga, there is no excuse why some children are unable to access live saving medications saying reducing pneumonia is dependent on the success of universal healthcare.
The day also saw the launch of the New born and child health strategy, the revised paediatric protocol and integrated community case management training materials and the monitoring and evaluation framework as well as the lighting of the pneumonia light that aims to raise awareness and risks about pneumonia and increase its visibility.