Today is World Pneumonia Day and the United Nations and partners are rallying to raise awareness and to step up global efforts against this deadly disease.
Here are two important points to know about the fight to protect children against pneumonia:
1. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death for children under 5.
According to research recently published in The Lancet, pneumonia accounted for more than 900,000 deaths of children under 5 in 2013, the second leading cause of death for this age group following complications from preterm births. And another report out today from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that in 2011, only 2% of international development assistance for health was spent on combating pneumonia.
2. We have solutions to protect children from pneumonia and save lives.
We have solutions to prevent and treat pneumonia. In support of the UN’s Every Woman Every Child movement to improve the health of children and women, the UN Foundation and partners are advancing a number of ways to protect children.
The Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign works to support UN efforts to expand access to life-saving vaccines, including pneumococcal vaccinations.
- Clean cooking solutions:
Another way to help fight pneumonia is to invest in cleaner and more efficient cookstoves. Worldwide, 3 billion people rely on solid fuels to cook, and the resulting household air pollution is responsible for over 4 million deaths, including from pneumonia. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves aims to have 100 million households adopt clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020.
- Access to sustainable energy
Clean, reliable energy helps reduce air pollution; it also provides health facilities the power they need to treat patients. The Energy Access Practitioner Network promotes universal access to modern energy services.
The good news: These solutions, combined with other steps, are working. According to the report mentioned above by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, child pneumonia mortality was reduced by 58% from 1990-2013. But we need to step up our efforts. Join us to #FightPneumonia and keep the momentum going.