Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert nearly 9 million child deaths from the disease, a new analysis has found as the first-ever global forum on childhood pneumonia got underway in Barcelona, Spain.
According to a new scientific model produced by Johns Hopkins University, in the United States, improving pneumonia treatment and prevention services could prevent up to 3.2 million children under the age of five from dying.
At the same time, it would create ‘a ripple effect’ that would prevent the deaths of an additional 5.7 million children from other major childhood diseases, underscoring the need for integrated health services.
“If we are serious about saving the lives of children, we have to get serious about fighting pneumonia”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. “As the current coronavirus outbreak shows, this means improving timely detection and prevention”.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid. The current coronavirus epidemic which began in China, causes pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in patients.
Pneumonia is the biggest single killer of children worldwide and claimed 800,000 last year, or one child every 39 seconds, according to UNICEF.—APP