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Lancet pneumonia study offers new hope for reducing No. 1 cause of child death
Date:11/10/2011

WESTPORT, Conn. (November 11, 2011) Children treated at home for severe pneumonia by Pakistan's "Lady Health Workers" were more likely to recover than children referred to health facilities, Save the Children found in a USAID-funded, WHO-coordinated study published in The Lancet medical journal today.

The results come the day before World Pneumonia Day, which aims to focus the world's attention on the leading cause of child death. Roughly 1.4 million children under age 5 die annually from the disease99 percent of them in the developing world.

"Pneumonia is highly treatable with inexpensive antibiotics, yet it remains the world's number-one killer of children," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "Today's results point to an extremely promising and practical way to reduce child deaths from severe pneumonia in the hardest hit communities. Training and supporting more frontline health workers is at the heart of the solution."

The Lancet study addresses a significant barrier to effective treatment for millions of poor families around the world the difficulty in accessing quality health services. In poor and isolated communities where pneumonia takes its biggest toll, major challenges include distance to a health facility, lack of transportation and costs.

Amidst a global health workforce crisis, Pakistan is one of a growing number of low-income countries to deploy community health workers to improve child and maternal health. In Pakistan, Lady Health Workers receive several months training, ongoing supervision and basic supplies and attend to about 150-200 families at home monthly.

Previous studies have shown that community health workers can successfully treat children with non-severe pneumonia at home and substantially reduce mortality rates. However, current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines do not allow for in-home treatment when pneumonia is defined as severe (when a chil
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Contact: Tanya Weinberg
tweinberg@savechildren.org
202-640-6647
Save the Children
Source:Eurekalert

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