Nigerian Medical Association has urged “strict enforcement” of standing ban on smoking in public places in moves to cut down the country’s burden of pneumonia.
The association says enforcing the ban is a step toward protecting innocent children and non-smokers against the dangers of secondhand smoking.”
In a statement marking World Pneumonia Day, it listed prevalence of household and environmental pollution “through cigarette smoking by carefree adults” as among factors which predispose children to pneumonia.
The association appealed for introduction of pneumococcal vaccine into routine immunisation, insisting that primary prevention of pneumonia through vaccination has been proven highly effective around the world.
Newly introduced pentavalent vaccine (which combines five vaccines in a single shot) for routine immunisation of infants now includes antigen for haemophilus influenza B.
Experts believe the disease is responsible for 17% of deaths among children aged under five—killing the largest number of children only second to malaria.
Other factors, said NMA president Dr Osahon Enabulele in a statement, include poor personal and household hygiene, “unsatisfactory adherence” to exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, poor nutrition worsened by dwindling economic fortune of families and communities in Nigeria.