The Save the Children International (SCI)-Nigeria and a pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have donated medical equipment worth N20m to the Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital, Jigawa State.
The SCI-Nigeria which said this on Thursday in a statement, said that the donation will improve access to medical oxygen and thus reduce the number of children dying from pneumonia and other illnesses due to lack of access to medical oxygen.
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The Country Director SCI-Nigeria, Mercy Gichuhi, said that the ultimate aim is to accelerate achievement of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea and Sustainable Development Goal targets of less than three child pneumonia deaths per 1,000 births and less than 25 child deaths per 1,000 births by 2030.
The organisation said that it made the donation comprising of a piped Oxygen system, Oxygen Concentrators and Pulse Oximeters worth N20m to support efforts geared at ensuring hospitals and appropriate health facilities in Jigawa State are equipped with functional oxygen delivery systems, readily accessible at the point of use.
“Importantly, we consider equipping the hospital with medical oxygen as the critical step in addressing Hypoxemia, (a clinical condition of inadequate oxygen concentration in the blood) a common sign of Pneumonia, which is the leading infectious killer of children under-5.
“As Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital is getting ready to become a Teaching Hospital, we believe this donation will empower the hospital to perform its role as topmost referral, teaching and research hospital in Jigawa State. Last year a similar oxygen systems intervention was made by Save the Children to Dutse General Hospital,” Gichuhi said.
She added that in Nigeria, effective oxygen treatment is seldom available in the clinics and hospitals that serve poor families and that this helps to explain why death rates from pneumonia are three times higher for children in the poorest households than they are for children in the richest households.
She said, “It is our responsibility to support efforts to roll back pneumonia deaths and health inequity, thus protecting vulnerable children.”
The Representative of GSK in Nigeria, Ehighebolo Omongiade, Regional Communication and Government Affairs Director said during the event, “It is a GSK priority to help Nigeria address childhood morbidity and mortality. This donation represents one way GSK and Save the Children are bringing together our unique skills and resources, to break new ground and find new ways to bring down the number of children dying from preventable diseases.”
Also, the Chief of Party INSPIRING Project, SCI-Nigeria, Dr. Isah Adamu, said, “Scaling up oxygen delivery across all health facilities can save countless lives; it is feasible and cost-effective. Decision-makers should take action today to ensure reliable and equitable access to effective oxygen therapy for all patients. Strong commitment is also needed to improve local oxygen systems and ensure equal access to this essential therapy long-term.”