Stakeholders in the health sector have urged Lagos state government to create policy direction for Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablet (Amoxicillin DT) and Zinc/ Low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt (Zinc/LO-ORS) in order to address childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhea.
Declaring open, the one day policy dialogue, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who was represented by the Director, Pharmaceutical Services Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo told journalists that though there is no state policy on Diarrhoea and Pneumonia management, adding that management of these at the health facilities is in line with World Health Organisation(WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) guidelines.
He said that the state is currently integrating the existing central health commodity supply chains to increase availability of medicines and diagnostics across the State, so as to effectively tackle childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhea.
On the improvement in the knowledge and skills of health workers across the state, he said, it will help increase appropriate diagnosis and proper treatment of the diseases.
According to him: "Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhea are leading killers of under-five children; in 2013 alone, about 1.5 million children died globally and about 400, 000, (Diarrhea-201, 368 Pneumonia-177, 212) died in Nigeria. In Lagos State, Pneumonia and Diarrhea accounts for approximately 9 percent and 10 per cent of deaths of under-five children respectively.
"As at 2015, there is 76 per cent availability of Zn/LO-ORS co-pack across the 280 Primary Health Centres in the 57 LGAs/LCDAs in Lagos State. We will ensure community participation in the management of childhood pneumonia and diarrhea through awareness creation and ownership."
In his speech, the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakassai said Local Healthcare Providers and Private Sector Actors (Manufacturers, Distributors, and Community Pharmacies) are encouraged to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the use of these commodities.
He added that frontline health workers including Community Pharmacists and Proprietary and Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) should be trained to identify the danger signs of childhood Pneumonia and refer appropriately.
Giving the update on the registration and regulatory environment of the child health commodities Amoxicillin DT, Zinc and Lo-ORS in Nigeria by Dr. Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, Director Registration and Regulatory Affairs, National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control,(NAFDAC), added that Zinc tablet should be used in combination with low osmolarity oral rehydration salt (LO-ORS) in all cases of childhood Diarrhea, stressing that the Zinc tablet when used for the full recommended ten days can protect the child from Diarrhea for the next 2-3 months.
She however added that NAFDAC will sustain, strengthen existing processes and systems to ensure that lifesaving commodities available within our jurisdiction are of good quality, safe and efficacious.
At the end of the dialogue, a communique was drafted with a recommendation that the state government should develop a Standard Treatment Guidelines document that will include childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhea commodities.