In the paediatric ward of Bacongo hospital, in a neighbourhood of Brazzaville, Anne Loumpangou tells UNICEF’s Jean Marie Samuel Ouenabio how her three-year-old daughter Emmanuelle almost died from pneumonia – one of the developing world’s biggest child killers.
Anne and her three year old daughter Emmanuelle
For a week, my daughter Emmanuelle had a high fever. As usual, I gave her pain killers (paracetamol) to reduce the fever, but her temperature did not fall. For me, she was suffering from malaria. But in the morning, her eyes were swollen, as if she had worms. But two weeks ago, I had dewormed her.
I continued to give her paracetamol. More days passed and the situation worsened. It was a nightmare for both of us, especially at night.
Emmanuelle cried a lot. Under the sheets, she was choking so I took her out of bed and we lay together on a mat without a cover. She didn’t sleep much, and she was finding it more and more difficult to breathe. Every time I held her by the ribs, she screamed in pain and cryed. She was coughing more too.
I was afraid Emmanuelle would die at home, so I went to Bacongo hospital. The doctor examined her and conducted a series of tests. He said that Emmanuelle was suffering from pneumonia and that her lungs were already damaged.
After appropriate care and a few days rest, my daughter started to have an appetite and eat again. When she started to play, I knew that my daughter’s life was safe
Now I recognise the symptoms of pneumonia and I’m sharing my experience with my neighbors and the community so their children do not run the same risks as my daughter. I tell them that they must properly immunise their children and, at the first sign of the disease, they should go to the local health centre for treatment.
Because of my ignorance, my daughter Emmanuelle nearly died of pneumonia. Today, thanks to the vaccine against pneumococcal disease, we can save the lives of our children.