Pneumonia kills one child every 20 seconds which means that, by the time you have read to the end of this paragraph, another child will have died. Pneumonia kills 1.5 million children every year which is more than HIV, malaria and measles combined. It is the world’s biggest killer of children under five and 98% of these deaths occur in the developing world.
Yet pneumonia is preventable and we have the tools and knowledge to stop these children dying. I am writing this blog post today on World Pneumonia Day as part of a great big SHOUT to raise awareness and to put pressure on the world’s governments to reduce this terrible death toll and allow these children a chance at life.
I am wearing my Save the Children hat of course but Save the Children is just one organisation making a particularly loud noise today. Look here to see who else is involved or read what Julia Roberts has to say about it here.
Save the Children is continuing its call for health workers for all. Basic healthcare education from health workers in the field is one of the most effective ways of preventing pneumonia. Simple things like hand washing, breast-feeding support and the promotion of the use of low emission cookers (which reduces the indoor pollution which is a major factor in causing Pneumonia) alongside early diagnosis and the delivery of safe, effective vaccines can dramatically reduce the impact pneumonia is having upon children.
Save the Children is also working to ensure that vaccines are available at a cheap enough price so that families don’t lock themselves into another cycle of poverty to cure their children.
One of my children is asthmatic and he has had the pneumonia vaccine. At the time it didn’t really occur to me how lucky we were that he was given it as a matter of course. I saw it as his right. All children should have that right. It should not be through accident of birth that they don’t.
Please join with me today in shouting loudly once again for the children of the world. We have a responsibility to stand up for them.
What you can do.
1. Write a blog post today promoting World Pneumonia Day and spreading the word. If you write a blog post, link it to the GAVI Blog Carnival. I wrote blogs for GAVI from Mozambique, it was their conference, held in London, when we got back where all that money was pledged for vaccinations.
2. Post this on twitter: Pneumococcal disease is the #1 vaccine-preventable cause of death in children under 5. http://ht.ly/7iQOj On Twitter tweet using #WPD2011 the official World Pneumonia Day hashtag
3. Post this on Facebook: Pneumonia kills a child every 20 seconds, making it the number one killer of children under five. The vast majority (98.5%) of those deaths occur in developing countries. The good news is that we now have a vaccine against pneumococcal disease, a major cause of pneumonia, which could save seven million children’s lives by 2030.http://ht.ly/7iQOj