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Pneumonia remains the leading killer of children despite decline in global child deaths
Date:11/12/2012

(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND) Marking the fourth annual World Pneumonia Day, November 12th, world leaders and the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia are calling for major efforts in the fight against childhood pneumonia, which remains the number one killer of children under age five. Pneumonia claimed 1.3 million lives in 2011 alone, and was responsible for nearly one in five global child deaths.

"Pneumonia can be prevented and cured. Yet, for too long it has been the leading cause of global deaths among children. We know what to do, and we have made great progress but we must do more. We must scale-up proven solutions and ensure they reach every child in need," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who spearheads Every Woman Every Child, an umbrella movement that has leveraged more than $20 billion in new money for women's and children's health and aims to save 16 million lives by 2015.

Investments in preventing, treating, and protecting children against pneumonia have contributed to significant declines in child mortality over the last decade, but access to healthcare facilities and treatment remains out of reach for many children in the developing world, where 99 percent of deaths from pneumonia occur. According to the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia, country leaders and funders must prioritize efforts and investments in proven interventions, including access to vaccines, proper antibiotic treatment, and improved sanitation, as well as the promotion of practices such as exclusive breastfeeding, frequent hand washing, care seeking, and the use of clean cookstoves to reduce indoor air pollution. Several of these interventions also help address the second leading killer of children diarrhea.

For pneumonia cases that do occur, antibiotics such as amoxicillin are one of the simplest and least expensive methods of treatment. However, antibiotics are administered to less than one third of children with suspected pneumonia
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Contact: Julie Younkin
jbuss@jhsph.edu
410-340-9784
International Vaccine Access Center
Source:Eurekalert

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