The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, says in 2019, 67,416 of Nigerian children under-five die due to overall air pollution related pneumonia, while deaths of Nigerian children under-five due to household-specific air pollution related pneumonia were 49,591 in same year.
This was contained in a statement by the UN agency, in commemoration of World Pneumonia Day today.
It was revealed that Nigeria has the highest number of overall air pollution related pneumonia deaths of children under-five in the world, and the highest number of household air pollution-related pneumonia deaths among children under-five.
“In Nigeria, 78 percent of air pollution related pneumonia deaths are among children under-five – the highest proportion across all countries, according to the Global Burden of Disease”, the statement read in part.
It was further explained that in 17 countries across Africa, air pollution contributes to more than 50 per cent of pneumonia deaths, with most of the deaths being among children and due to household air pollution, with rising numbers of deaths from outdoor air pollution.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins was quoted as saying that almost 185 children under the age of five die every day from pneumonia due to air pollution in Nigeria, describing it as a travesty for their families and for Nigeria especially, because the vast majority of the deaths are preventable.
Hawkins further said it is critical that the government introduces policies to reduce the major causes of air pollution-related pneumonia deaths among Nigerians, especially children, who bear the biggest burden.