When it Comes to Pneumonia, Every Second Counts

By Alena Sims, Communications Associate, PSI

Did you know that pneumonia is the leading infectious killer of children under five?

Every year, this preventable illness takes the lives of nearly 900,000 children. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries, where resources are limited.

This year, on World Pneumonia Day, global health workers are gathering at the UN to “Push the Pace” for innovative solutions to this illness, stressing the importance of achieving equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Vaccines, such as the pneumococcal and Hib vaccines, can prevent a significant portion of pneumonia cases from ever occurring. And proper diagnosis and treatment through antibiotics can successfully treat most pneumonia cases with early intervention.

Unfortunately, such interventions are not readily available for all and are not distributed equitably across countries. To dramatically reduce the number of child deaths caused by pneumonia, PSI is utilizing an Integrated Case Management (ICM) approach to ensure that children receive proper and timely treatment for pneumonia. By adopting this innovative approach, pneumonia prevention and treatment services are integrated with other areas of child survival, such as diarrhea and malaria. This makes it easier for caregivers to seek and receive accurate diagnoses and effective treatment for their children in a timely manner and without multiple visits to different providers. This approach will allow us to achieve:

1) increased access to services and treatments

2) improved quality of services, and

3) increased informed demand among children’s caregivers for appropriate treatment-seeking behavior.

Additionally, we are ensuring the distribution of  pre-packaged antibiotic therapy kits to treat pneumonia in children under five years old. These kits are then made available through private clinics and community-based health workers.  To date, a total of 4.5 million kits have been distributed across 10 countries.

Click to read more about PSI’s efforts in combatting pneumonia related deaths worldwide.

Every Breath Counts – Pneumonia Campaign Teaser – 111115 from Angela Foster on Vimeo.