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GlobalPost Blog Examines Efforts To Prevent, Treat Pneumonia In Zambia

Writing in GlobalPost’s “Pulse” blog, correspondent Marissa Miley examines efforts to prevent and treat pneumonia in Zambia, where she traveled recently. “Data cited in a 2012 report by Countdown to 2015, a coalition organization tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals around child and maternal health, show pneumonia to be the leading single cause of death for children under five in Zambia, as it is for children globally, according to a recent study in the Lancet,” she writes. “And yet, in the many conversations with child and pneumonia health experts, doctors, and researchers I had before I left for Lusaka, it became clear to me that pneumonia is not just the top cause of death among young children. It is also one of the most overlooked,” she writes.

However, “this week, as I was flying the first leg of my journey, the Zambian government officially launched a vaccine to prevent pneumococcus, the leading bacterial cause of pneumonia,” she notes. “For several years, along with Save the Children, Boston University, and other partners, the Zambian Ministry of Health has been working in a remote part of northern Zambia, near the mining areas of the Copperbelt province, to train volunteer community health workers in part how to diagnose and treat pneumonia,” she writes, adding, “Now seems as critical a time as any to take a closer look at efforts to prevent and treat this ‘forgotten killer,’ and give pneumonia a home front and center in the news” (Miley, 7/13).