Baby Health

New Parent? See The Revised Nigerian Immunization Schedule

When babies are born, they inherit specific types of antibodies from their mothers.

These antibodies help them fend off different diseases. The antibodies are also nature’s way of protecting babies when they’re most vulnerable.

However, starting around six months of age, these antibodies start to diminish, and almost completely disappear by the time your baby is one year old. In the ideal situation, babies should start to make their own antibodies i.e. the beginning of their immune system, as they increasingly become exposed to the diseases that the maternal antibodies had previously protected them against.

After access to clean water and breastfeeding, immunization is the most highly effective intervention for protecting babies from infectious disease.

Vaccines are either parts of the viruses or bacteria (called antigens) or weakened live viruses. Vaccines are given to babies before the mother’s antibodies completely disappear. And most babies get up to 20 vaccines by the time they are one.

Vaccine preventable diseases account for approximately 22% of child deaths in Nigeria, amounting to over 200,000 deaths per year. Some Nigerian parents do not realize the importance of taking their children for vaccinations. These vaccinations are provided for free thanks to many international and local NGOs and the Nigerian government itself. You can enquire from friends and family about the nearest local government health center that provides immunization. There you can find out what time and what day, you should take your child for immunization.

On immunization days, you will be given a card that will help health practitioners and yourself keep track of the vaccines your baby has taken and will take.

As vaccines for other diseases are developed and public health statistics of childhood diseases are analysed, the national programme is changed.

As a new Nigerian parent it can be tough to keep track of all the vaccines your newborn needs. To make things easier for you, we have also outlined the revised immunization schedule below;Last Updated: January 2017

 

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Signs That Your Child May Have Pneumonia

Do you know that Pneumonia accounts for one in four under-five deaths that is 1.5 million children die from pneumonia every year even though pneumonia is one of the solvable problems in global health? Nigeria ranks among countries that contribute 70 percent of the global burden of pneumonia.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, specifically in one or both air sacs. The sacs may become filled with pus which causes the following signs of pneumonia in children: fever, labored breathing and chills.

Some of the signs and symptoms of Pneumonia in children are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low fever of 38.5 C or lower
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat, chills, headache
  • Coughing that is dry and frequent
  • Rapid breathing with wheezing sounds
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Mucus tinged with blood or has a green or rust color
  • Poor feeding (in infants) and decreased appetite (in older children)

If you notice any of these symptoms make sure you take your child to the hospital immediately. Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, a fungus, viruses or parasites. For bacteria, the organisms that antibiotics are responsible for pneumonia are Streptococcus and mycoplasma. For those with compromised immune systems, pneumonia can be caused by organisms such as Pneumocystis jiroveci. This is responsible for frequent pneumonia bouts in those who have HIV. Hence, a doctor may recommend an HIV test.

A child may develop pneumonia by:

  • Breathing pneumonia-infected air or certain bacteria
  • Having a viral upper respiratory infection such as the cold or flu
  • Experiencing complications with other diseases such as chicken pox or measles
  • Breathing gastric juices from the stomach and large amounts of food into the lungs, or vomiting into the lungs. This usually occurs in a seizure or stroke

Pneumonia can either be community-associated pneumonia (spread at school or work, for example) or healthcare-associated pneumonia (spread through hospitals).

Once on antibiotics, a child with pneumonia has a smaller chance of passing on the bacteria to anyone else at home. Nevertheless, be sure that everyone at home:

  • Washes hands frequently and correctly
  • Must avoid using the same cups, plates or utensils with the sick child
  • Must have up to date immunizations to prevent other infections
  • Boost a child’s immune system by allowing him to get enough sleep, adequate exercise and have a healthy diet
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue and wash your hands’ thereafter

Young children are more susceptible to contracting pneumonia and this can be a potentially life-threatening illness if left untreated. Pneumonia should not be taken lightly, and parents should ensure that they look out for signs of pneumonia in children especially when they have been unwell for a persistent period.

Make sure your child gets the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, PCV to protect him/ her against the disease and make sure every member of your family is also vaccinated

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