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WHO, UNICEF Launch 6-Year $39B Plan To Prevent, Treat Pneumonia; World Pneumonia Day Coverage

To mark the first World Pneumonia Day on Monday, the WHO and UNICEF launched a $39 billion Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) aimed at preventing 5.3 million child deaths from the disease by 2015, the Associated Press reports (Cheng, 11/1).

The agencies “made a joint appeal to fund a six-year plan for pneumonia prevention and treatment in 68 developing countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, plus parts of Central and South America, where it is prevalent,” Reuters writes. “[The appeal] sets targets for 2015 to expand coverage of the relevant vaccines and exclusive breastfeeding rates to 90 percent and increasing access to proper treatment to 90 percent. Reaching these goals would cut child pneumonia deaths by 65 percent and cut the number of severe pneumonia cases in children by 25 percent compared to 2000 levels, it said,” the news service writes (Kelland, 11/1).

“We know the strategy will work, and if it is applied in every high-burden country, we will be able to prevent millions of deaths,” Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, said, Xinhua reports (11/2).

Anne Golaz, a UNICEF senior health adviser, said, “Since we know what interventions work, we need to urgently implement them” to combat pneumonia, which is the biggest killer of children younger than age 5, Agence France-Presse reports. Golaz also noted that children who are exclusively breast fed during the first six months of life have a 23 percent less chance of contracting the disease (11/1).

Reuters/Forbes published a factbox with details about the new plan and other information about pneumonia (11/1).

In related news, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Alliance, “said on Friday it was seeking $4 billion to protect as many as 130 million of the world’s poorest children against diarrhoea and pneumonia,” according to a separate Reuters article. Reuters writes that “the $4 billion would finance pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccinations in addition to the large-scale campaigns already under way to fight a range of preventable diseases including hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib.”

Julian Lob-Levyt, head of the GAVI Alliance, said in a statement, “Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives. … And improved health is a fundamental driver for long-term development (MacInnis, 10/30).

Several news outlets published stories related to World Pneumonia Day:

  • bdnews24.com: “Pneumonia is leading killer of children” (11/2)
  • Kathmandu Post: “Pneumonia major killer of children” (Sunuwar, 11/2)
  • Capital News: “Kenyans warned about killer pneumonia” (Kaberia, 11/1)
  • Times of India: “Every minute, a kid dies of pneumonia” (Nagaraj, 11/2)
  • New Vision: “27,000 kids die of pneumonia yearly” (Baguma, 11/1)
  • International News: “First World Pneumonia Day today” (11/2)