In Jigawa, A Community Without Doctors Battles Pneumonia

Women in a Jigawa community wait at a health centre.
Women in a Jigawa community wait at a health centre.


Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of deaths in Nigeria with about 18 deaths every hour, according to a 2018 UNICEF survey.

Over the years, the government and many development partners have made efforts to ensure the prevention and good management of pneumonia cases in the country

However, while the global death rate has reduced by 51%; in Nigeria, it has reduced by only 8%.

Experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a significant increase in the number of pneumonia deaths, hence the need for more effective strategies to combat the scourge.

In the remote village of Katanga, in Kiyawa local government of Jigawa state, northwest Nigeria, access to comprehensive health care is a challenge, as there is no medical doctor in all the health facilities in the local council.

The primary healthcare manager in Kiyawa local government, Malam Musa Nababa, says children suspected to be infected with pneumonia are referred to the Dutse general hospital for further analysis and treatment.

A child is being attended to by an healthcare professional in Jigawa.
A child is being attended to by a healthcare professional in Jigawa.


“Our staff here are trained to identify patients with pneumonia,” Malam Musa says. “And since you know the symptoms of pneumonia are similar to some other diseases. So, if we suspect it’s pneumonia, then we refer the patient to our general hospital in the state capital.”

He added that “the routine immunization going on in the primary health centers can go a long way in preventing children from falling victims of pneumonia and other diseases.”

Jamila Sama’ila is a mother of two in Katanga village and she tells Channels Television in an interview that she got medical advice from a radio program named “Kula da Lafiya” sponsored by Save the Children’s Inspiring Project.

“They gave us a radio receiver and told us to tune to it whenever the program is on air, and this is how I learn how to protect my children from becoming victims of pneumonia,” Sama’ila says.

“We learned the significance of personal hygiene and understand the dangers of exposing our children to smoke.”

She added: “Now, whenever we come out of the toilet we have a tippy-tap that we use for handwashing. Before feeding our children we also must wash our hands.”

Healthcare professionals attend to mothers and their children in Jigawa.
Healthcare professionals attend to mothers and their children in Jigawa.


In the management of pneumonia cases, medical oxygen is an essential facility. The Director of Clinical Services, Pharm Ibrahim Hasan, says it is only recently that the hospital was able to get a donation of an oxygen system to the hospital.

“The maintenance we have is not proactive, it is when an incident happened then we begin thinking of how to rectify it,” the director says. “And oxygen is always needed in the hospital. But now we have set up a committee to which would be looking into these challenges and proffer solutions.”

The district head of Kiyawa local government, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu Kiyawa, says that traditional means of healing is becoming a major challenge to healthcare delivery in the state.

According to him, because of the economic situation, people seem to prefer traditional treatment than the conventional version, and this is complicating the general health of the public.

“Some of these so-called traditional healers are a fraud. And even the genuine ones have no proper administration and this results in complicating the health of the patients,” the district head said.

“But because of the economic situation, people seem to be more at ease with the traditional means for its affordability.”

Ukraine First Lady Hospitalised With Pneumonia

People walk in front of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev on March 31, 2019, during Ukraine’s presidential election. Sergei GAPON / AFP


Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska, who last week tested positive for the coronavirus, has been hospitalised with pneumonia, the presidency said on Tuesday.

Zelenska, 42, has been diagnosed with double pneumonia, the presidency said, adding that oxygen treatment was not required.

“Her condition is stable,” it said in a statement.

Zelenska said on Friday she had tested positive for the coronavirus, while her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and their two children had tested negative.

Zelensky’s spokeswoman Yuliya Mendel said the 42-year-old leader was “feeling well” and being tested for coronavirus “every single day”.

“All his results are negative”, she told AFP.

Zelensky continues to work from his Kiev office, but has reduced social contact and was now in touch with a “very narrow circle of people”, Mendel said.

He also cancelled domestic trips that had been scheduled for this week, she added.

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Zelenska said last week the positive test was a surprise as she and the president had sought to follow social distancing rules and protected themselves.

But the president came under fire early this month when he appeared without a mask in a cafe during a visit to the city of Khmelnytsky in central Ukraine.

In an interview with Ukrainska Pravda news site last week, Zelensky said that he even wanted to get infected with the coronavirus to show people that it was “scary” but “not a plague”.

Authorities said there had been an “alarming” rise in coronavirus cases as the country eases the lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions eased gradually in late May and early June with a resumption of public transport, including metro systems and long-distance and local train services.

On Tuesday, the ex-Soviet country reported 32,476 cases and 912 fatalities.


China Probes Pneumonia Outbreak Amid SARS Fears


China is investigating an outbreak of viral pneumonia, state media reported Tuesday, amid online speculation that it might be linked to SARS, the flu-like virus that killed hundreds of people a decade ago.

A team of experts from the National Health Commission were dispatched Tuesday to Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province, and are “currently conducting relevant inspection and verification work,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

An emergency notification issued Monday by the Wuhan municipal health committee said hospitals in the city have treated a “successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia,” without offering details.

Chinese news site The Paper reported 27 cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan in December, citing unnamed health officials from the city.

“Of the 27 cases, seven were critical, the rest were under control, and two patients are expected to be discharged from hospital in the near future,” The Paper said.

News of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan led to speculation online that it might be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious respiratory disease.

The emergency notification has urged hospitals to offer treatment and report cases in a “timely manner”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) criticised China for under reporting the number of SARS cases following the outbreak in 2003.

SARS killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2003.

The virus, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world, is expected to have originated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, according to WHO.

China sacked its then health minister Zhang Wenkang for the poor handling of the crisis in 2003, several months after the first case was reported.

WHO announced that China was free of the deadly SARS virus in May 2004.


Ex-Brazil Striker Ronaldo Discharged From Hospital

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo pictured prior to a rematch between Norway and Brazil at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway June 9, 2018, 20 years after Norway surprisingly defeated Brazil in the 1998 World Cup qualifying game in Marseille.


Retired Brazilian striker Ronaldo left a clinic in Ibiza on Tuesday following a four-night stay for treatment for a flu infection.

“He left this morning at 10:30 am, not wanting to depart from the side where the press were waiting,” said a spokesman for the clinic in the center of Ibiza.

A spokesman for the former player confirmed his departure in an email message.

Ronaldo said Sunday he was being treated for a severe bout of flu infection after being taken to the hospital Friday.

Local newspaper Diario de Ibiza said the former Real Madrid star had been treated in intensive care for pneumonia at the city’s public hospital before being transferred to the clinic.

The 41-year-old, who was named FIFA’s world player of the year three times prior to his retirement from football in 2011, is a regular visitor to Ibiza, where he owns a house.

He won his first cap for Brazil as a 17-year-old and went on to score 62 goals in 97 international appearances, including both goals when Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup final.


Ex-Brazil Striker Ronaldo Hospitalised With Pneumonia In Spain – Report

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo pictured prior to a rematch between Norway and Brazil at Ullevaal Staium in Oslo, Norway June 9, 2018, 20 years after Norway surprisingly defeated Brazil in the 1998 World Cup qualifying game in Marseille.


Retired Brazilian striker Ronaldo has been hospitalised with pneumonia on the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza and is recovering well, a local newspaper reported Sunday.

The 41-year-old, widely considered one of the world’s best-ever players, was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Can Misses Hospital on the island on Friday afternoon where he was diagnosed with pneumonia, local daily newspaper Diario de Ibiza reported.

Several hours later Ronaldo asked to be transferred to a private hospital called Clinica Nuestra Senora del Rosario, the newspaper added.

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid player remains in intensive care and but was “evolving favourably”, unnamed hospital sources told the newspaper.

Contacted by AFP, a hospital spokeswoman said she was unable to give any information for privacy reasons.

Ronaldo, who was named FIFA’s world player of the year three times prior to his retirement from football in 2011, is a regular visitor to Ibiza, where he owns a house.

He won his first cap for Brazil as a 17-year-old and went on to score 62 goals in 97 international appearances, including both goals when Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup final.


Vaping May Boost Pneumonia Risk – Study


Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, likely boosting disease risk, researchers said Thursday.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal did not directly compare vaping’s effect to that of smoking tobacco cigarettes.

But the findings did suggest that users of electronic cigarettes may be at higher risk of lung infection than people who do not vape, the research team reported.

“If you choose to take up e-cigarettes… this indicates a red flag that there may be an increased susceptibility” to pneumococcal bacteria, study co-author Jonathan Grigg of the Queen Mary University of London told AFP.

Grigg and a team conducted three types of experiment. One exposed human nose lining cells to e-cigarette vapour in the lab, another involved mice inhaling vapour and then being exposed to pneumococcal bacteria, the main cause of pneumonia.

A third trial studied the nose lining of 11 e-cigarette users compared to six non-vapers.

The team noticed a sharp increase in the amount of bacteria sticking to airway cells after e-cigarette exposure. Such adhesion has previously been shown to increase susceptibility to disease.

“Some people may be vaping because they think it is totally safe, or in an attempt to quit smoking, but this study adds to growing evidence that inhaling vapour has the potential to cause adverse health effects,” said Grigg.

“By contrast, other aids to quitting such as (nicotine) patches or gum do not result in airway cells being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds.”

Less harmful?

Last month, a US study said vaping may increase cancer risk because it leads to DNA damage, despite containing fewer carcinogens than tobacco smoke.

That study, too, did not compare the effects of cigarette smoking directly to vaping.

Research in the journal Tobacco Control last October said a large-scale switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes would prevent millions of premature deaths by the year 2100, even assuming the gadgets are themselves not risk-free.

E-cigarettes, said to contain no tar and fewer toxins than tobacco cigarettes, were developed as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking.

But many people fear that a harmless veneer may make e-cigarettes a “gateway” for young people to lifelong nicotine addiction.

Commenting on the latest study, Peter Openshaw, an experimental medicine professor at Imperial College London, said any evidence that vaping raised lung infection risk was “only indirect”.

“Although it is possible that vaping might increase susceptibility to pneumonia, the effect is likely to be lower than from smoking itself,” he said via the Science Media Centre.

“This study should not be used as a reason to continue to smoke rather than vape –- the evidence to date is that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.”


Newborn Health: FG Launches Action Plan Against Pneumonia

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Nigerian government has launched a new policy guideline for the prevention of stillbirths and pneumonia among newborns by the year 2030.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at a conference to launch the guideline in Abuja, stated that annually, pneumonia and premature births accounts for about 15 million deaths of children under five years.

He regretted that Nigeria is the third largest contributor to that global statistics but stated government’s readiness to change the narratives by the year 2030.

He said: “Federal Ministry of Health is proud to launch three policy documents relating to new born health. These are ‘essential-new born action plan’, ‘care training package’ and the ‘national scale up strategy’ document.

“The action plan shows government’s commitment to end preventable new born deaths and still-births by 2030.”

Statistics at the federal ministry of health reveals that an estimated 871,000 premature babies are born annually in Nigeria.

It also shows that preterm births and pneumonia contribute significantly to Nigeria’s burden of child mortality rate which is 37 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.

The Programme Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Joseph Monehin called for an urgent action to tackle the problem.

“We know for a fact the impact of malaria as a contributor of infant mortality is reducing but it is not the same for pneumonia. We know that pneumonia continues to be a big contributor to infant mortality in Nigeria and we must redouble our efforts,” he said.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization’s national coordinator for neonatal program advised government to walk its talk.

“We welcome any innovation that will deal with pneumonia in children as well as complications on prematurity. We are very happy to be here and we support all efforts to end pneumonia and the complications.

“So it is a great day for us. We pray that what we say here, we will be able to implement in the different levels of our health care, not that it would just end here.

The new policy guide recommends among others, exclusive breast feeding, proper hygiene and routine immunization for the reduction of child mortality rate in Nigeria.

What You Should know About Pneumonia

PneumoniaCommon cold, which includes symptoms such as cough, sneezing or runny nose, is a viral infection that involves the upper respiratory system and may not need serious medical attention.

However, sometimes it could develop into a health complication like bronchitis, pneumonia, an ear infection, sinusitis, or an asthma attack.

In the case of Pnuemonia, it is the inflammation of the lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs get filled with pus which may become solid.

Such inflammation may affect both lungs, resulting in ‘double pneumonia’, or only one, ‘single pneumonia’.

Two extremes of human life, which include the young, (those below age two) and the old, (those above age 65), are considered to be the most vulnerable considering their low levels of immunity.

However, those between other age groups can also be susceptible to pneumonia infection when the immune system is week.

Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, chest pain, fast breathing and feeling short of breath among others.

Pneumonia has been rated among the leading killers of children under five years of age, accounting for 15 % of all deaths of children under 5 years old or 920, 136 children worldwide in 2015.

In curing the disease, hemophilus influenza type b, is part of the pentavalent vaccines given during routine immunization in Nigeria.

Also, the federal government’s introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in 2014 has been commended by some medical practitioners, however, some say there have been some concerns.

While everyone awaits more medical intervention, simple measures such as early and exclusive breastfeeding, regular and proper washing of hands, and ensuring a well ventilated home and workplace will also reduce the occurrence of pneumonia.

Clinton Feels Much Better From Pneumonia Diagnosis

Hilary ClintonU.S. Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, says that her health is much better, a day after falling ill at a 9/11 commemoration.

Reports say she had kept her pneumonia diagnosis from most of her staff, but chose to tell only family and close aides.

In a telephone interview with the CNN, she said that she had not disclosed a recent diagnosis because she just did not think it was going to be that big a deal.

Mrs Clinton also confessed that she had ignored a doctor’s “wise” advice to rest for five days.

Her republican opponent, Donald Trump, noted that health had now become “an issue” in the campaign.

However, Mrs Clinton’s campaign team said they would be releasing new medical records to help ease concerns about her health.

On Monday, Mrs Clinton canceled a trip she was scheduled to take to California for fundraising and other campaign events.

Mrs Clinton fell ill at a September 11 memorial, an episode that renewed focus on her health less than two months before the election.

Reuters reported that Clinton, 68, was diagnosed on Friday but her condition only came to light several hours after a video on social media appeared to show her swaying and her knees buckling before being helped into a motorcade as she left the memorial early Sunday.

Ondo Govt Flags Off Anti Pneumonia Vaccination

PneumoniaThe Ondo State Government has flagged of the introduction of the Pneumococal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to combat the spread and occurrence of the pneumonia bacterial infection.

According to the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, the disease which has been discovered to be highly resistant to treatment, kills over 800 thousand children all over the world.

Gathering at the premises of the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, for the flag off of the anti pneumonia vaccine were stakeholders including top government officials, health personnel and nursing mothers.

The introduction of the Pneumococal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), according to Dr. Adeyanju, would help to effectively fight pneumonia which has a strong resistance to treatment with drugs.

Having thrown more light on the vaccine, Dr. Adeyanju added that it would be made readily available in all health institutions across the state.

The Chief of Staff to Governor Mimiko, Dr. Kola Ademujimi, reminded the audience that the state had done a lot in reducing maternal and infant mortality.

He noted that these efforts have received many accolades from development partners which include two time award in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Immunization in Nigeria.

The pneumonia bacterial disease affects mainly children under the age of 5 years and also adults 65 years and above.

The State Deputy Governor, Ali Olanusi, administered the oral vaccine on some of the kids present at the venue to flag off the vaccination.

The Causes And Prevention Of Pneumonia In Children

A pediatrician and a health consultant Dr. Femi Lawal has said that Pneumonia is not caused by cold but an infection of the lungs.

While speaking on Channels Television Health Programme Health Matters, Dr. Lawal explained that Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, fungi and virus

He stated that the lungs are positioned in the chest cavity.



Family Members Visit Mandela In Hospital

Former South –African president Nelson Mandela who is being treated for Pneumonia was visited by members of his family on Monday after doctors had reported an improvement in his condition over the weekend.

A statement from South Africa’s presidency said there was “no significant change” in the condition of the 94-year-old former president, who has been in hospital since late Wednesday suffering from a recurrence of a lung infection.

“Former President Mandela is still in hospital where he is receiving treatment … He spent part of Family Day today with some members of his family,” the statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office said

In South Africa, Easter Monday is a public holiday celebrated as Family Day.

In their previous bulletin late on Sunday, the medical team treating Mandela said he had a “restful day” and had shown further improvement after a procedure to drain excess fluid from around his lungs. Doctors had already said he was breathing without difficulty.

Mandela’s latest treatment is his third visit to hospital in four months, generating worldwide concern over the health of the revered statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

He is admired at home and abroad for leading the struggle against white minority rule in South Africa, and then actively promoting the cause of racial reconciliation when in power.

He has been away from the political scene for at least a decade and has become increasingly frail in his old age.

Mandela was in hospital briefly earlier this month for a check-up and spent nearly three weeks in hospital in December with a lung infection and after surgery to remove gallstones.

He has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. He spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island and other jails for his attempts to overthrow apartheid rule.