Saturday marks the third annual World Pneumonia Day, an effort to raise awareness about pneumonia’s global impact.
This year, quite a few items have been released to correspond with the day:
- A paper published in the journal International Health forecasts that over the next decade, pneumococcal vaccination could prevent at least 11 million pneumonia cases and 314,000 deaths in children under the age of 5.
- The International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released its annual report, noting mixed progress in pneumonia control intervention implementation. The report calls the rate of new vaccine roll out in developing countries “unprecedented,” but says implementing preventive interventions –such as exclusive breastfeeding during an infant’s first six months — is an ongoing challenge.
- PBS NewsHour published a post on The Rundown highlighting some other complications:
Countries need to have a certain level of health infrastructure in place to provide the vaccine, and some NGOs including the charity group Merlin say that excludes some of the poorest countries, in greatest need, from being able to enter the agreement. Others, including Oxfam, argue GAVI needs to renegotiate even lower prices for the vaccines to ensure the campaigns are sustainable.
Countries that do qualify, such as Nicaragua, face their own challenges strengthening infrastructure to meet the needs of a large scale immunization campaign. Vaccines need to be kept refrigerated, for example, so equipping clinics or adding to existing equipment can be difficult in poor, rural settings.
- Also a new Lancet study found that smoke from open fires and indoor cooking is linked to severe pneumonia, especially in young children and women. The study “found that the number of cases of severe pneumonia was a third lower among children in homes with smoke-reducing chimneys attached to their cookstoves,” CBC News reports.
Despite the coordinated effort to spark some dialogue about pneumonia, not a whole lot seems to have changed when it comes to actually addressing awareness about the global toll of pneumonia — at least since last year. Continue reading