By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF) has said the Nigeria contributes to the highest number of global pneumonia child deaths.
It added that pneumonia claimed the lives of more than 800,000 children under the age of five last year globally, with one child every 39 seconds, according to a new analysis.
UNICEF in a statement issued yesterday by Oluwatosin Akingbulu Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships said Nigerian children made up the highest number of those who died, with an estimated 162,000 deaths in 2018 – 443 deaths per day, or 18 every hour.
In Nigeria, 19% of child deaths were due to pneumonia in 2018, and it was the biggest killer of children under-five in 2017.
“Pneumonia is a deadly disease and takes so many children’s lives – even though this is mostly preventable. And yet, this killer disease has been largely forgotten on the global and national health agendas. We can and must change this,” said Pernille Ironside, Acting UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
The statement said the biggest risk factors for child pneumonia deaths in Nigeria are malnutrition, indoor air pollution from use of solid fuels, and outdoor air pollution.
“Most global child pneumonia deaths occurred among children under the age of two, and almost 153,000 within the first month of life.
“Sounding the alarm about this forgotten epidemic, six leading health and children’s organisations today launched an appeal for global action. 
“In January, the group will host world leaders at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia in Spain.