The federal government in conjunction with a leading pharmaceutical company, GSK, has pledged not to increase the price of pneumonia vaccines for the next 10 years but to rather freeze the price for improved vaccination. The plan, according to the company, would ensure that children in the country do not die of the disease, which is now the number one killer disease amongst children under five. This was made known at the launch of International Vaccines Access Centre’s (IVAC) preliminary findings which was on the occasion marking World Pneumonia Day in Abuja. The findings estimated that about 750,000 Nigerian children died in 2015 and largely from diseases. The report also indicated that “pneumonia is now the leading cause of child deaths in Nigeria, a position previously held by malaria over the years.
In 2015, about 17 per cent (127,00 deaths) and 10 per cent (75,000) of all under-five deaths including neo-natal deaths were caused by pneumonia and diarrhea, respectively.” Medical Director of GSK, Dr. Lana Odunuga, said GSK “has placed 10 years price freeze on pneumonia drugs as the country graduates from GAVI funds.” He said: “I just want to emphasise that we need consistency in our programmes. We have done very well in our policy making, we have done very well in our coordination. So it is just consistency and once we are consistent, we will get there. We need to start from somewhere and we are on a journey, we will get there.