Pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea have been identified as the three most common killer illnesses in children under 5 contributing to three-quarters of mortality in this age category. Effective treatment of these three is one of the most powerful interventions to reduce mortality in children under 5.1
Despite several and aggressive interventions by WHO, UNICEF and other development partners worldwide which has led to the reduction in the impact of malaria and diarrhoea particularly in under 5, pneumonia seem not to have received the same level of attention or record similar successes.
Data has shown that pneumonia claims the lives of more children around the world than any other infectious disease. The vast majority of those killed by pneumonia are poor and living in low and middle-income countries (WHO). Nigeria is the second largest contributor to pneumonia related deaths in the world with an estimated 127,500 deaths recorded annually. And to achieve SDG 3.2, Nigeria needs to prevent the deaths of 70,000 children annually by 2030, thereby making pneumonia sensitive interventions very critical.
As part of its centenary celebrations, Save the Children (SC) and GSK is collectively embarking upon a global commitment to end preventable deaths from pneumonia, working to demonstrate sustainable change that can be achieved at scale in reducing burden of the largest infectious cause of child mortality. Save the Children wishes to ‘bend the curve’ on pneumonia deaths by using a combination of strategies – evidence based programming activities, world-class research and evidence generation, innovative co-creation initiatives, strategic partnerships and campaigns.
SC and GSK will combine partnership efforts to address pneumonia in children under five using integrated multi-sectoral approach, focusing on the following areas of intervention or 3 Pillars:
- Nutrition – Protect children from pneumonia including promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding
- Immunization – Prevent pneumonia with vaccinations, hand washing with soap, reducing household air pollution
- Case management – Treat pneumonia focusing on making sure that every sick child has access to the right kind of care including appropriate antibiotics either from a community based health worker or in a health facility
SC believes that this partnership can spearhead momentum behind a national pneumonia initiative, combining SC’s experience in-country with GSK’s expertise in research and development of innovative healthcare solutions to create access to medicines and vaccines at community level and in facilities.
This unique program which will incorporate element of co-creation for the very first time is to be piloted in two states in Nigeria namely Lagos (in the South) and Jigawa (in the North) and will have two phases
- Inception Phase – Situation analysis/baseline studies, Advocacy and Program Design
- Implementation Phase
Stakeholders’ engagement/advocacy meetings at states and federal level is one of the project Inception phase activities. The essence is to discuss proposed integration approach of the implementation as well as harvest ideas on what can work and also obtain buy-in from top government officials in the states and as the Co-creation advisor, I have been actively involved, working with the Chief of Party and the Project team.
I particularly loved the road trip to Jigawa state, a 6 hour’s drive from Abuja. As tiring as it was, there was always a sense of excitement and fulfilment.
Follow my next blog on this interesting journey of CHANGE, as we design this unique program
- Bryce, J., et al., ‘LiST as a Catalyst in Program Planning: Experiences from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Malawi’, International Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 39, no. 1, 2010, pp. i40–i47.