The Nakuru County Director for Public Health Elizabeth Kiptoo today urged parents to be vigilant and act quickly whenever they notice anything unusual in their babies during this rainy season to save them from pneumonia.
She said from past experiences there was always an upsurge of pneumonia during the wet seasons and hence the need to sensitize parents with young children to avoid unnecessary deaths. She was speaking during an interview with KNA at the county offices.
The director said the infectious disease kills many children under five years on a daily basis, and statistics from the Ministry of Health show that every minute, a child dies from pneumonia and it was high time urgent action was taken to stop pneumonia deaths.
Mrs Kiptoo said pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, caused by bacteria and fungi and transmitted through the air, and during the wet seasons people tend to huddle together for warmth, sometimes in low ventilated houses and churches.
In addition, she said somebody who has contracted pneumonia experiences fast breathing, fever, and coughing, among many other symptoms, but deaths were preventable if parents act quickly and take them to hospitals fast.
However, she said babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months have long-term benefits of immunity compared to the ones who are weaned earlier and fed tinned or cow milk.
Also, she said the excitement and interest during the current political campaigns contribute a lot to young children being neglected by their parents, and in most cases, they are left with underage siblings or relatives who might not notice pneumonia symptoms in the babies.
She advised mothers who are keen on political meetings to always carry their babies with them because they are much safer when tied on their backs instead of being left at home, without adequate supervision.
Last year during the rainy season, there was a surge of pneumonia cases in the county that necessitated public health campaigns, and a number of babies died in the informal settlement areas.
By Veronica Bosibori