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World Pneumonia Day: Time to Stop Pneumonia in Its Tracks!
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World Pneumonia Day: Time to Stop Pneumonia in Its Tracks!

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Highlights:
  • World Pneumonia Day is celebrated annually on 12th November
  • It generates awareness about the life-threatening consequences of pneumonia
  • Its primary aim is to reduce under-5 mortality

World Pneumonia Day is celebrated on 12th November every year. It was established by the Stop Pneumonia Initiative in 2009 and aimed to generate awareness about the life-threatening consequences of pneumonia. It promotes interventions that help to prevent and treat pneumococcal infections and also encourages greater investment in pneumonia research.

World Pneumonia Day provides an ideal platform to bring this neglected disease to the public's attention and encourage policymakers and grassroots organizations to combat the disease on a war footing.

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The global celebrations are spearheaded by the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia, which includes more than 140 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions, and foundations. Some of the key players include Save the Children, PneumoADIP, the Global Heath Council, the GAVI Alliance, and the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Objectives of World Pneumonia Day

The major objective of World Pneumonia Day is to raise awareness about pneumonia. It provides a unique opportunity to focus on the public health challenges faced during the implementation of vaccination programs, as well as inequities in access to healthcare. It is an ideal platform that involves all stakeholders - healthcare professionals, governments, policymakers, funding agencies, advocacy groups, patient organizations, and civil society at large - to expedite access to essential medical interventions for preventing and treating pneumonia in order to reduce the global disease burden.

Pneumonia: Key Aspects

Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria and viruses and is one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of 5 years. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) are the most common bacteria associated with pneumonia in children. Common symptoms include cough, difficulty in breathing, fever, and chest pain. Severe symptoms include rapid breathing, severe chest pain, confusion, and disorientation.

Children living in poor communities are at the highest risk of acquiring pneumonia, which can be minimized in the following ways: The major strategies for preventing pneumonia by strengthening immunity include the following:
Pneumonia can be easily treated inexpensively using a course of antibiotics costing less than USD 1 per treatment course. The disease can be cured if it is diagnosed early and antibiotics are started immediately.

Pneumonia: Facts & Figures

Ways to Celebrate World Pneumonia Day

There are numerous ways to celebrate World Pneumonia Day in order to raise awareness. A few of these are briefly highlighted below:
  • Popular Talks
  • Free Respiratory Check-ups
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Fundraising Sporting Events
  • Voluntarily offering medical or educational services

Global Strategies for Tackling Pneumonia

  • Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP): This Global Action Plan, jointly developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), indicates that the lives of over 1 million children could be saved every year if adequate prevention and treatment interventions were implemented in the world's poorest countries
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): The SDGs were developed in 2015 with the aim of achieving a new, well-defined set of global targets by 2030. SDG 3 aims to "Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages". Within SDG 3, Target 3.2 aims to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least 12 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least 25 per 1000 live births by 2030
  • Stop Pneumonia Initiative: This initiative is spearheaded by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), which is located at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The Stop Pneumonia Initiative provides support and lends a voice to underprivileged communities who lack access to proper healthcare facilities and life-saving vaccines for fighting pneumonia

Conclusion

Although great strides have been made in pneumonia prevention over the decades, still more needs to be done to reduce the disease burden further. So, on World Pneumonia Day, let's pool our resources together to fight this deadly disease that kills over a million poor, innocent children every year across the globe.
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References :
  1. Pneumonia: The Forgotten Killer of Children - (https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Pneumonia_The_Forgotten_Killer_of_Children.pdf)
  2. Child Survival and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - (https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-survival/child-survival-sdgs/)
  3. The Stop Pneumonia Initiative - (https://stoppneumonia.org/)
  4. Pneumonia Fact Sheet - (https://www.thoracic.org/about/global-public-health/firs/resources/world-pneumonia-day-2018-factsheet.pdf)


Source: Medindia

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