NIGERIA. Niger State: The Technical working group on Childhood Killer Diseases has declared that majority of the primary health care facilities in Niger state lack Amoxicillin DT and Zn-LO-ORS which are drugs that are meant to prevent Childhood Killer Diseases.
Amoxicillin DT and Zn-LO-ORS are known to be the recommended WHO single line treatment for pneumonia and diarrhoea for under-five children.
The group noted with dismay that although the state had agreed to improve health financing, there was no record of release for integrated management of childhood illnesses in 2020.
The group which is also known as the Niger State Action Committee on Childhood Killer Diseases also pointed out that from 2015 to 2021, there has not been a release of budgetary allocations made by the ministry of health while disclosing that all activities around integrated management of childhood illnesses and childhood killer disease are mostly funded by development partners.
The Technical Working Group expressed these concerns during its meeting, which was held via zoom in Niger State.
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The meeting was coordinated by the State Ministry of Health and State Primary Health Care Development Agency alongside support from the Partnership For Advocacy In Child and Family Health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale) through Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, Bida.
Call to Government
Pointing out the dangers of lack of adequate supply of Amoxicilin DT and Zn- LO- ORS in health facilities, the group called on the government to show more commitment on prompt release of funds.
The prompt release of funds would ensure that there is availablility of Amoxicilin DT and Zn- LO- ORS in the health facilities.
They also called on all stakeholders to lend their voices to this important issue to advance the health of the mothers and children in Niger State.
Dangers of lack of Amoxicilin DT and Zn- LO- ORS
Inadequate Amoxicillin DT and Zn- LO- ORS may lead to increased death of under-five children, according to the Project Director of the CCRHS, Dr Aliyu Yabagi Shehu.
Shehu said that according to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), out of 195,000 children, 19,000 will die before their 5th birthday adding that pneumonia and diarrhoea are seen as a leading cause of under-five deaths in Niger State and Nigeria.
He said, “We fear that there will be an increase in death of under-five children from pneumonia and diarrhoea due to lack of releases to the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses/Child Killer Diseases to enhance the adequate provision of Amoxillin DT and Zn-LO-ORS across Niger State Health facilities.
“If Amoxicillin DT. and Zn-Lo-ORS are not effectively and adequately supplied to the facilities in Niger State, this will have catastrophic consequences for under-five children in Niger state.”
The Project Director then stressed the need for improved fund releases to the health sector to enhance the adequate provision of Amoxicillin D.T and Zinc LO-ORS at all times to protect the health and safety of children under five in Niger State.
What is Amoxillin DT. and Zn-Lo-ORS used for?
According to Unicef, Amoxicillin is a penicillin-class, broad-spectrum antibiotic which is commonly prescribed to children for the treatment of pneumonia and other illnesses, including bacterial infections of the ears, sinuses, throat, urinary tract, skin, abdomen and blood, amongst others.
It is also often used as part of the treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum penicillin antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It is especially effective to treat bacterial pneumonia in children, as well other illnesses, including bacterial infections in the abdomen, blood, ears, sinuses, skin, throat, and urinary tract, amongst others.
The ORS and zinc is recommended by WHO for the management of diarrhoea in children and it is on the WHO Model List of essential medicines for Children
According to WHO, a single listing for co-packaged ORS and zinc would provide several public health and normative benefits that would ultimately help bring down global mortality and morbidity rates associated with the burden of diarrhoea.