News / Health

    Pneumonia Vaccines Could Save Millions

    Maria Jose Caceres, a nurse for the relief organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), listens to the chest of a child with pneumonia, at an emergency hospital run by MSF in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 12, 2011.
    Maria Jose Caceres, a nurse for the relief organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), listens to the chest of a child with pneumonia, at an emergency hospital run by MSF in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 12, 2011.
    Lisa Schlein

    Health agencies are marking this year's World Pneumonia Day by touting the advancements made in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia, the biggest killer of children under age five.

    Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide.  The World Health Organization reports a child dies of pneumonia every 20 seconds and 98 percent of these deaths are in developing countries.

    In total, WHO estimates nearly 1.5 million children under age five die every year from this killer disease.  That is more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.  Studies show that prevention and proper treatment of pneumonia could avert one million deaths in children every year.  

    The GAVI Alliance says life-saving vaccines against pneumonia, which previously had been available mainly in rich nations, now are being introduced in developing countries.  GAVI spokesman, Jeffrey Rowland calls this a tremendous achievement.  He notes last year, nearly no poor child in the developing world was protected against pneumonia.

    "Thanks to the global rollout of pneumococcal vaccines-pneumococcal being a bacterium that is the largest cause of pneumonia, 3.6 million children have been immunized against pneumonia.  By this time next year, the number is expected to rise to nearly 13.6 million," said Rowland.  "This number is a number to celebrate and celebrate loudly because it was not in existence a year ago."  

    Pneumococcal vaccines have been around in the United States since 2007.  But, their prohibitive cost has made them inaccessible for people in poor countries.  Three doses are needed to protect a child against pneumonia.  Each dose costs between $85 and $110.

    Rowland says through a series of complex negotiations, pharmaceutical companies have agreed to lower their prices to $3.50 per dose for developing countries.  He says the new vaccines are expected to prevent more than 70 percent of serious pneumococcal infections among children in Africa and Asia, where children have the highest risk of this disease.

    But vaccines are only half the story.  Children who get sick with pneumonia have to be treated with antibiotics.  Unfortunately, many children in poor countries are not able to reach the health facilities that can offer them lifesaving treatment.

    The results of a World Health Organization (WHO) study in Pakistan find most children with pneumonia, can be successfully treated at home.

    WHO spokeswoman Olivia Lawe-Davies says these findings offer great hope.

    "The results of that study have shown that in fact, you get just as good results, in fact even slightly better results with treating children at home with the oral antibiotic, rather than referring them, possibly because, a lot of times, when children are referred in poor, isolated communities, they never actually make it to the facility," Lawe-Davies noted.  "Or, when they get to the facility, they might not get the treatment that they are supposed to get.  So, we found that the results of the outcomes of the at-home treated children were, in fact, slightly better."

    Currently, WHO recommends that children with non-severe pneumonia be treated at home.  This recent study, it notes, indicates that children with severe forms of pneumonia also could benefit from home treatment.

    Lawe-Davies says WHO plans to conduct similar studies in other places.  If the results indicate that children with severe pneumonia can be effectively managed at home, she says this would make treatment more accessible and cut costs.  And, it would save more lives.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora