Just a few days ahead of World Pneumonia Day on 12 November, Radio Miraya, a radio station owned and operated by the UN Mission in South Sudan interviewed Malaria Consortium acting Country Director, Denis Mubiru.
Dr Mubiru talked about the burden of pneumonia on both a global scale and in South Sudan. “The disease claims over 900,000 children’s lives each year across the globe,” he said. “In South Sudan pneumonia is responsible for 19 percent of deaths of children under five. It affects [them] as their immunities are not so strong.”
In the interview he stresses that pneumonia is both treatable and preventable, while also dispelling local myths about how the disease is transmitted.
Malaria Consortium is tackling the threat of the disease in the country through an effective approach called integrated community case management (iCCM). We have trained over 5,800 community health workers to deliver health services in the heart of their remote communities to children who have pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. The training covers basic health management skills, including the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases in children under five, as well as screening and referral for acute malnutrition.
Malaria Consortium is working with the Government of South Sudan Ministry of Health in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap Gogrial East, Gogrial West and Twic counties to address this issue and bring health care to remote communities through iCCM programmes.
Dr Mubiru calls upon all national governments to prioritise health in budgets, donors to support this effort, citizens to demand quality health services, health workers to diagnose and treat the disease appropriately, and researchers to design user-friendly devices for effective diagnosis in resource-poor settings. Only with these commitments will children’s lives be saved.
You can listen to the full interview here (report by Irene Lasu and Sebit Williams for the Miraya Breakfast show):