Welcome Address by the Chairman Local Organizing Committee to the Delegates for the 51st Annual General and Scientific Conference. Kano 2020.
It is my honor to welcome you to the 51st Annual General Meeting and Scientific conference of the
Paediatric Association of Nigeria. Kano first hosted the PAN conference in 1990. Thus, 30 years had
passed before today's event. In between, so much has happened to the Nation politically, socially and
economically. All these have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of the child, the primary
concern of this Association.
The theme of this conference is "The impact of rapid population growth on the child". This is justified
and apt in view of the country's rapid slide into poverty, to the extent of being labelled the Poverty
Capital of the World. The population of Nigeria at independence in 1960 was 45,138,458 compared to
the then United Kingdom's population of 52,370,602. By 1965 it was 50,127,921 compared to the UK
population of 54,240,850. In 1968 when PAN was founded Nigeria's population was just about 53
million. Today, Nigeria's population is estimated at 203.581,924 (January 5, 2020) compared to the
United Kingdom's population of 67,712,974. Nigeria's population is equivalent to 2.64% of the total world population and ranks 7th in the list of countries by population. 52.0% of the population is urban
(107,112,526 people in 2020). The median age in Nigeria is 18.1 years compared to 40.5 years in the
UK. Clearly, this country must address its population dynamics as a matter of urgency. Roughly half of
Nigeria's populations live in extreme poverty. Nigeria overtook India, a country with seven times its
population as the poverty capital of the world in June 2018. If poor Nigerians were a country, it would
be more populous than Germany. Poverty deprives people access to basic necessities such as food,
healthcare and sanitation, education and assets.
A spot of brightness emerges however from the positively changing health indices of the Nigerian child.
In the last 2 decades, the IMR was 102/1000 in the year 2000 but is now 54.7/1000. The Under 5
mortality was 180/1000 in the year 2000 but is now 90.2/1000. This is real progress. The country has
also been declared polio free, whereas in 2005, a major controversy unfolded in the use of oral polio
vaccine in this very Kano State, fanned by politicians and mischievous pseudo-scientists.
Kano, as a commercial Centre for centuries is hospitable to all. While there has been a decline in
manufacturing brought about by deficit in infrastructure, particularly collapse of the railways and power,
Kano has sustained itself through trading and commercial exchanges with neighboring countries of
Republic of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Kano is still the second most populous city after Lagos, with an
estimated population of 3,626,068. There is a lot to see from Kano's history. From Gidan Makama
museum, to the famous 5 centuries old dye pits at Kofar Mata to the city defensive walls, which though
have unfortunately been allowed to crumble and are now barely visible in a few parts of the city. When
the British conquering forces came to attack Kano in 1903, they had a hard time scaling the walls which
were at that time 25 Meters tall. Our guests should find time to visit these centuries old structure.
On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee, I welcome all of our guests.
Professor Muuta Ibrahim