World Pneumonia Day - Halt Pneumonia's March

by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman on  November 10, 2018 at 12:49 PM General Health News
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Highlights:
  • World Pneumonia Day is observed on the 12th November annually across the world to raise awareness about this deadly killer infectious disease and prevent pneumonia deaths in children
  • Pneumonia is an infectious disease that can be prevented and easily treated, but is still the leading cause of death due to infections in children less than five years of age
World Pneumonia Day is organized by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia (a group of international, government, non-governmental and community-based organizations, academic and research institutions, foundations, and individuals) to raise awareness and educate about this killer disease.
World Pneumonia Day - Halt Pneumonia's March
World Pneumonia Day - Halt Pneumonia's March

This year (2018), the 10th anniversary of World Pneumonia Day was established in 2009. The "Stop Pneumonia" campaign is being led by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health underscoring the need to mount increased efforts to fight this deadly disease

Also, the WHO has drawn up the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) recognizing that prevention and control of two childhood killer diseases, i.e.
pneumonia
and diarrhea have to be jointly addressed with integrated programs.

Mission of Stop Pneumonia Campaign

  • Raise awareness about pneumonia, the leading killer infectious disease in children under five years
  • Promote steps to protect against, prevent, and treat the condition and fill the gaps in the current approaches
  • Generate funds and garner support to fight against pneumonia and other common killer diseases of childhood such as diarrheal infections

Call for Action - Message of Stop Pneumonia Initiative 2018

Each and every one should take part in the fight against pneumonia
  • Governments and administration must give top priority to the fight against this childhood killer disease
  • Government and healthcare system must ensure access to health care such as vaccines, antibiotics and treatment to one and all irrespective of location and socioeconomic status
  • Citizens should hold government and healthcare system accountable and to give priority to child health
  • Health care personnel should use all available resources and keep themselves abreast of new approaches to diagnosis and treatment
  • Research scientists should strive and spare no effort in developing newer and more effective drugs and vaccines to combat pneumonia

Raising Awareness about Preventing Pneumonia Deaths in Children

  • Share messages about the 'Stop Pneumonia' initiative on social media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Visit outreach locations and slums to educate people on the importance of vaccination and seeking prompt treatment if their child is ill
  • Donate or raise funds for Stop Pneumonia campaign
  • Sell 'Stop Pneumonia' merchandise such as shirts, mugs, bracelets and other trivia and donate the funds for pneumonia research
  • Hospitals and clinics should run awareness clinics for mothers to educate them about preventing and treating pneumonia in their children
  • Media should give wide coverage to government programs aimed at fighting pneumonia and broadcast educational programs using experts to raise awareness among the public about this killer disease and its prevention
  • Governments should conduct wide-reaching and publicized vaccination programs to protect all children against pneumonia

Pneumonia Key Facts

  • Pneumonia kills over 16 percent of children under five years annually
  • Pneumonia is an infectious disease affecting the lungs and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Pneumonia can be prevented by vaccination, maintaining proper hygiene and nutrition
  • The condition is easily treatable by antibiotics and supportive treatment such as intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy
  • Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough, breathing difficulties, wheezing and in severe cases dehydration due to poor food and water intake, convulsions and coma

Steps to Prevent Pneumonia - Key to "Stop Pneumonia" Initiative

  • Immunization against Hib pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Educating women on the importance of breastfeeding to enhance child's immunity
  • Ensure every child gets proper nutrition
  • Avoid indoor pollution due to cooking with firewood or kerosene and providing affordable gas stoves
  • Educating families about the importance of maintaining proper hygiene
  • Ensure health worker visits to families with young children to monitor the health of the child and reinforce health education of the mother and other family members
  • Implementation of the integrated Global action plan for pneumonia and diarrhea (GAPPD) drawn up by the WHO and UNICEF to reduce/prevent pneumonia-related deaths in young children as a top priority
  • Take measures to curb outdoor pollution
References :
  1. IVAC 2018 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report - (https://stoppneumonia.org/)
  2. World Pneumonia Day - (http://www.who.int/life-course/news/events/world-pneumonia-day-2018/en/)

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