Home PH Important Day World Pneumonia Day 2014 : "Innovate to End Child Pneumonia".

World Pneumonia Day 2014 : "Innovate to End Child Pneumonia".

by Public Health Update
World Pneumonia Day is celebrated every year on the 12th of November.

The aim is:
  • To create public awareness about pneumonia that kills one child under the age of 5, every 20 seconds.
  • To promote interventions for preventing and treating pneumonia
  • To generate an action plan to combat pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.

Key facts

  • Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old.
  • Pneumonia killed an estimated 935 000 children under the age of five in 2013.
  • Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi.
  • Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition and by addressing environmental factors.
  • Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but only one third of children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need.
  • Pneumonia is the leading infectious killer of children under five years old.
  • In 2013 alone, more than 900,000 children died from this preventable and treatable illness, accounting for 15% of under-five child mortality worldwide, 2% of which are newborns.1
  • Children in poor and rural communities are most affected. The top 15 countries with the highest burden of child pneumonia deaths are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Angola, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Sudan, Uganda, Niger, and Tanzania.
  • In 2008, there were an estimated 203,000 deaths due to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and 541,000 deaths due to Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) in children under five.
  • More than 99 percent of deaths from pneumonia occur in the developing world, where access to health care facilities and treatment is out of reach for many children. 
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  • Preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia.
  • Adequate nutrition is key to improving children’s natural defences, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. In addition to being effective in preventing pneumonia, it also helps to reduce the length of the illness if a child does become ill.
  • Addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution (by providing affordable clean indoor stoves, for example) and encouraging good hygiene in crowded homes also reduces the number of children who fall ill with pneumonia.
  • In children infected with HIV, the antibiotic cotrimoxazole is given daily to decrease the risk of contracting pneumonia.

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