World Pneumonia Day

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Despite improvements in child survival in recent decades, children in low- and middle-income countries still suffer from illnesses virtually nonexistent in the industrial world.

Pneumonia is the deadliest of these, responsible for the death of 900,000 children under five worldwide in 2013—more than any other infectious disease.

And more children are killed by pneumonia in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) than in any other country except for India and Nigeria. Every year, approximately 148,000 children under five die of pneumonia, accounting for 15 percent of child deaths in the country.

Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Every year, pneumonia kills approximately 936,000 children under the age of five, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths within this age group. One of the worst affected countries is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where pneumonia took the lives of nearly 50,000 children in 2013, including almost 7,000 newborns.

For the sixth year, people around the global are bringing awareness to this critical—and solvable—problem by commemorating World Pneumonia Day today, November 12th. This year’s theme is: “Universal access to pneumonia prevention and care”.

[CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014]CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

Today, November 12, is World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under five, killing more children annually than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. About 1.1 million children under five died of pneumonia last year, 99 percent in developing countries.

No child should die from pneumonia. Usually caused by bacteria or virus, pneumonia most often manifests in children as a cough and difficulty breathing. The global child health community has proven strategies to prevent and treat pneumonia including vaccines, immediate exclusive breastfeeding, handwashing with soap, access to sanitation, oral rehydration solution with zinc, safe water, amoxicillin, and vitamin A.

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