World Pneumonia Day

Of 1000 children born in 2013, 46 died before they reached the age of five.  While it appears that we have made substantial progress as the rate lay at 90 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990, it is scandalous that 6.6 million children continue to die annually of what are largely preventable diseases. In fact, three quarters of deaths could be averted through simple cost-effective interventions.

Today is World Pneumonia Day  and we are fighting to stop the world’s number one preventable childhood killer.  1.1 million children die of the disease every year before reaching the age of 5.[1] Moreover, 99% of these children tend to reside in developing countries, highlighting the link between the disease and poverty. For instance, 121,000 cases were recorded in Nigeria alone in 2013, compared to 300 in the USA.[2]

However, deaths from pneumonia are easy to forestall by following a number of simple steps: children can be protected through breastfeeding, the disease can be prevented through vaccinations, hand washing with soap and reduced household air pollution while children can be treated by community-based health workers or health facilities provided sufficient investments have been made into local health systems.

In our latest child health brief we outline a range of cost effective measures which will help the EU and its member states stem child mortality from preventable diseases including pneumonia.  By proving guidance on financial allocations and policy change we hope to stimulate sufficient political momentum to reach the MDG 4 target of cutting child mortality by 2/3rds right before its 2015 deadline!

You can find our latest brief here.