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Combating for Breath in India : World Pneumonia Day

Pneumonia kills approximately 1.3 million children every year, accounting for 19% of all deaths of children under 5 years old worldwide, according to the WHO.

World Pneumonia Day is celebrated to focus on the solemness of pneumonia as a public health problem and to inspire more organizations and nations to look at ways of fighting the disease.

This day was first organized in 2009 to help build public and political support to address this problem. It is marked every year on 12th November to –

~ Raise perception about pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under the age of five.
~ Help interventions to protect against, prevent, and treat pneumonia.
~ Generate action to combat pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognize pneumonia is the one largest cause of death in children worldwide. Every year, it kills approximately 1.3 million children under the age of 5 years, accounting for 19% of all deaths of children under five years old worldwide, according to the WHO. This, despite pneumonia being preventable and treatable.


Who is at risk of infection?

According to the WHO, healthy children can successfully fight the infection, children whose immune systems are weaker due to undernourishment, malnutrition, or other diseases, have a lower ability to recover. Air pollution caused by the heating of biomass fuels, cooking, living in crowded homes, and parental smoking can increase a child’s probability of contracting the infection.
Child pneumonia deaths are the highest in countries such as India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo where undernutrition and malnutrition are widespread.


What are the signs of infection?

Signs include high fever and chills, cough, physical weakness, and a feeling of being unwell, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, and a racing pulse.


How can it be prevented and treated?

This includes maintaining hygiene and getting vaccinations against certain pneumonia-causing bacteria. Saving a child from pneumonia requires urgent treatment, which usually involves the administration of antibiotics, which typically do not cost much. On average, treatment lasts for about 6 to 7days.


What is the liability of the disease?

According to UNICEF, a child dies of pneumonia every 40 seconds, which translates to roughly 8,00,000 children every year, and over 2,300 every day, including 1,54,000 newborns.

We need cooperative action to improve investment, policies, innovations, and increase evidence-based interventions if we are to leave no child behind and to save lives. Not only is fighting pneumonia possible, but it is also a must for every child to be able to fulfill their right to survive and thrive.

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