Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert nearly 9 million child deaths from pneumonia and other major diseases. Last year, it claimed the lives of 800,000 children, or 1 child every 39 seconds.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid. Although some types of pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines and can be easily treated with low-cost antibiotics if properly diagnosed, tens of millions of children are still unvaccinated.
Child deaths from pneumonia are concentrated in the world’s poorest countries and it is the most deprived and marginalized children who suffer the most. Forecasts show 6.3 million children under the age of five could die from pneumonia between 2020 and 2030, on current trends.
Health interventions aimed at improving nutrition, providing antibiotics and increasing vaccine coverage, boosting breastfeeding rates are key measures that reduce the risk of children dying from pneumonia.