By NBF News

Pneumonia has been described as the leading cause of death in children Worldwide, killing an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five every year.

The president, Nigeria Thoracic Society (NTS), Prof. Gregory Erhabor disclosed this yesterday in Ilorin, KwaraState at the opening ceremony of the society's 2012 annual general meeting and scientific conference.

The theme of the conference is 'Curtailing the Scourge of Common Lung Infections in Nigeria.'

The NTS president stressed that the number of deaths resulting from pneumonia are 'more than AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis combined.'

Erhabor pointed out that tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia 'are fast emerging as major killers in our society.'

He added, 'COPD is becoming a leading cause of death and it is estimated that by 2020, it will be the fourth leading cause Worldwide, adding that, 'almost 90 percent of COPD deaths occur in low and middle income countries.'

Erhabor said the theme of the conference was timely, particularly considering the fact that, 'the viable economic age bracket of our nation is threatened by infections of the lung.'

He said that participants at the conference would look at the challenges of lung infections and find possible ways to control them.

'We also hope to start regional research groups that will work on various lung diseases and come up with lasting solutions to controlling and minimizing their impact,' he disclosed.

He said the NTS 'is well positioned to begin to proffer solutions to the problems of lung health in the country,' having made giant strides in research, patients' care and teaching in the past five years.