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U.N., Partners Call For Greater Efforts To Fight Number One Killer Of Children On World Pneumonia Day

On World Pneumonia Day (WPD), recognized on November 12, “[t]he United Nations and its partners … called for greater efforts to eradicate pneumonia, the number one killer of children under the age of five,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the WHO, “pneumonia, which is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs, kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five years every year — more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” the news service notes (11/12). In a statement recognizing WPD, USAID said, “Thankfully, we have in our possession the tools needed to change the tide on these statistics. Now we need new ways to deliver badly needed health services and new ways to stimulate demand in the most rural pockets of the world” (11/12). “The Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia, a partnership of more than 140 government, international and philanthropic organizations, sponsors WPD,” IIP Digital adds (Porter, 11/9).

“Investments in preventing, treating, and protecting children against pneumonia have contributed to significant declines in child mortality over the last decade, but access to health care facilities and treatment remains out of reach for many children in the developing world, where 99 percent of deaths from pneumonia occur,” Women News Network writes (11/12). Several preventive measures can help reduce the risk of pneumonia, according to health experts, VOA News reports, noting such measures include vaccination, safe drinking water, hand washing, improved sanitation, exclusive breastfeeding and other nutritional interventions, and the reduction of indoor air pollution (Schlein, 11/11). IRIN discusses a media campaign launched on Monday by UNICEF and the Network of Journalists for Human Rights in the Central African Republic (CAR), which “will focus on the disease’s symptoms, how it is spread and can be treated, as well as on the need for behavior change” (11/12).