Pneumonia claims the lives of more children around the world than any other infectious disease. The vast majority of those killed by pneumonia are poor and living in low and middle-income countries.
A recent report titled "Fighting for Breath in India" that presents key pneumonia facts and figures shows that in India, 20 children die every hour due to pneumonia.
‘In 2015, 15 percent of under-five mortality is due to pneumonia.’
In 2015, a total of 1,78,717 children died of pneumonia in India. Despite efforts being made toward universal immunization, more than 25 million children in India are not immunized with Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in 2016.
Further, the study estimated that if current trends continue, 22,587 children will die from pneumonia in 2030.
Pneumococcal vaccines (PCVs) could prevent most bacterial pneumonia cases, but 170 million children under two in developing countries are unimmunized and one-third of children with pneumonia-like symptoms do not seek appropriate care.
A child who is severely malnourished is four times more likely to die from pneumonia. The report shows that globally, 52 million children suffer from wasting, and they face grave health risks.
Antibiotics which could prevent about 70 percent of all pneumonia deaths are often unavailable and not accessible for children in India.
"The Government is making an all-out effort to combat Pneumonia and there has been satisfactory progress in recent times. However, we need to concentrate our efforts in reaching out to children who reside in remote locations and belong to the most marginalized communities. We will ensure that no child is left out," said minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
The study recommended that every nation should make it a priority to ensure strong, accessible primary health care systems for all communities. For effective prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of pneumonia, health care systems must be free for patients.
Pneumonia cannot be treated in isolation. Fighting pneumonia requires a strong and accessible health system that reaches the most disadvantaged children.
- Save The Children - Fighting For Breath in India: A call to action on childhood pneumonia.