The Paediatrics Association of Nigeria (PAN) declared open its conference holding in Kano, yesterday with many dignitaries in attendance.
In his opening remarks, the PAN President, Professor Augustine Omoigberale, said the conference would afford the participants the opportunity to look inward, strategize and produce rational and implementable solutions to some of the country’s challenges with regard to child health.
He said there were six pre-conference workshops which started on Sunday, January 19 and ended Monday, January 20, 2020, adding that many scientific sessions would take place during the conference.
Also in his welcome address, the chairman, Local Organizing Committee, Professor Muuta Ibrahim, said the theme of the conference, “The impact of rapid population growth on the child” was justified and apt in view of the country’s rapid slide into poverty amidst population explosion.
“In 1968 when PAN was founded, Nigeria’s population was just about 53 million. Today, Nigeria’s population is estimated at 203.581,924 (January 5, 2020) compared to the United Kingdom’s population of 67,712,974’’.
He said Nigeria’s population was equivalent to 2.64 per cent of the total world population and ranks 7th in the list of countries by population.
“Poverty deprives people access to basic necessities such as food, healthcare and sanitation, education and assets. A spot of brightness emerges however from the positively changing health indices of the Nigerian child’’, he said.
He said there was real progress however looking at the Infant Mortality Rate which was 102/1000 in the year 2000, but was now 54.7/1000 and the Under 5 mortality was 180/1000 in the year 2000 but is now 90.2/1000.
“The country has also been declared polio free, whereas in 2005, a major controversy unfolded in the use of oral polio vaccine in this very Kano State, fanned by politicians and mischievous pseudo-scientists,” he added.
Some of the dignitaries who attended were the Secretary to the Kano State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, who represented the governor, the Emir of Kano, also represented by the Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta, Alhaji Bello Abubakar, among others.