Blog Post


By Olanrewaju Lambe
December 4, 2021

As part of efforts to commemorate the 2021 World Pneumonia Day, The Neo Child Initiative (TNCI) took her #StopPneumonia campaign to the Iwaya community. The outreach which ran for two days on the bounce started with a community walk and sensitization on Pneumonia on Friday 12th, November 2021. The entire programme was collaborative efforts of the TNCI, Iwaya Community leaders, the management of the Local Primary Health Centre and the management of Fazil Omar Senior High School, Iwaya.

TNCI volunteers, accompanied by community leaders, visited the nooks and crannies of Iwaya to talk to parents about the importance of good hygiene and the resultant effect in stopping pneumonia. This was also done to create awareness about the vaccination program set to happen the following day at Fazil Omar Senior High School, Iwaya.

Parents began to troop in with their wards by 10 am on Saturday, 13th November 2021 at the venue with the turnout very encouraging. The vaccination programme commenced with a health talk by TNCI’s Vice Health Team Lead – Dr Urenna Emenyonu – who admonished the teeming parents on the practices like observing good personal hygiene, frequent and thorough handwashing, eating well, quality natural food supplements for adequate child nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding etc. that prevents pneumonia. The children were engaged with games and music as parents took a turn to visit the consultation and vaccination shed with their ward(s).

Speaking during the event, Dr Urenna highlighted that the risk of any Nigerian dying from Pneumonia is 330 times more than any other country in the world despite easier preventive methods via vaccination. She highlighted that vaccination apathy and lack of health risk awareness ranks high amongst the factors contributing to rising cases of Pneumonia in communities.

Reiterating this, the community health workers on the ground also complained about vaccination defaulters in the community. Aro Temitayo, one of the health workers, mentioned, “There are some mothers who miss vaccination dates either due to lack of interest or time despite various follow-ups. We have been able to get in touch with parents who have missed their child(ren) vaccinations and as well vaccinate their child(ren) at this event”.

Children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years were vaccinated, while other children who do not fall within this bracket had access to free health checkups by the professional health workers on ground with drug supplements dispensed for diagnosed ailments. The children were also taught the basic hygienic practices as they were encouraged to be good hygiene ambassadors in their homes and schools.

“This event is very okay for mothers. I liked that we were encouraged to always vaccinate our children. It’s a pity that some parents don’t do this” - Abiola Adegun, one of the parents at the outreach, commented. Another parent, Oluwakemi Eletu added, “Parents should take vaccinations seriously. They should be at events like this where parents and children are taught how to take care of the body”. Olufunmi Desalu, another health worker on ground, while thanking TNCI highlighted that the event has created a bridge between the community health workers and parents as well as inspired parents to understand the essence of vaccination in children.

Chinonso Eze, who had her three children vaccinated, appreciated TNCI for the relief packages provided for the children and for bringing this health talk and vaccination to the community. “We will show other parents all we have learned so that they will be encouraged to attend programmes like this”, Chinonso added.

High Chief Francis Ogunbanjo, the Iwaya community leader who works with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, expressed delight at the success and impact of this vaccination programme. “I am happy that TNCI has come to vaccinate the children in the community. He also appreciated the support of the principal of the school and the health workers from the primary health centre. “We are also very much available for collaboration with TNCI on any future events”, Chief Francis added.

TNCI had hoped to educate and vaccinate 150 children against Pneumonia but eventually ended up attending to 180 children. The turnout by parents in the community was encouraging and the TNCI team remains inspired to keep pushing initiatives like this in underserved communities in Nigeria.