News / Health

Pneumonia Kills One Million Kids Every Year

A Somali mother and her older child wait in line for her baby to receive a five-in-one vaccine against several potentially fatal childhood diseases, at the Medina Maternal Child Health center in Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, April 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben)
A Somali mother and her older child wait in line for her baby to receive a five-in-one vaccine against several potentially fatal childhood diseases, at the Medina Maternal Child Health center in Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, April 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Every year, more than one million children die from pneumonia. It’s the single biggest killer of kids under age five globally. On World Pneumonia Day, health officials say there are simple, but effective ways to prevent these deaths.


The theme of this year’s World Pneumonia Day is “Innovate to End Child Pneumonia.” Dr. Elizabeth Mason is the World Health Organization’s Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

“Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs where the lung tissue itself actually gets infected. And so the oxygen, when you breathe, can’t pass through into the bloodstream. So it makes it more difficult for the child to breathe, therefore, the child can succumb to the infection.”

The type of pneumonia that usually kills is a bacterial infection, although there are viral forms of the illness.

Mason said, “Worldwide, more than one million children die under the age of five years every year. The actual number that gets pneumonia is a hundred fold that. So a billion children will be actually getting pneumonia, but most of them fortunately will actually be able to receive the antibiotics that they need.”

Most of the pneumonia deaths occur in developing countries where access to medicine may be limited. The younger the child, the more vulnerable. And being malnourished or infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, also sharply raises the risk of death.

UNICEF Senior Health Specialist, Dr. Mark Young, said many child deaths from pneumonia are preventable.

“First of all, just at a basic protection level, if a child gets good nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding, if they’ve got access to safe water and sanitation and hand washing – those sorts of things protect the child from getting pneumonia in the first place. Actually preventing, we can also use immunization. There are very effective immunizations.”

And if a child does become infected with the pneumonia bacteria?

Young said, “It is quite easily treated. We have very effective antibiotics. In particular, the recommended antibiotic is amoxicillin in a dispersible tablet format, which is very child friendly, very easy for children to take. One of the difficulties though is that the disease needs to be recognized by the caregiver, by the family. You know, the child with a cough or difficulty breathing. So that needs to be recognized and the caregiver and the family then needs to seek appropriate care in order the get the appropriate, proper treatment.”  

Many countries are improving access to treatment for pneumonia, as well as diarrhea, another major killer of young children.

Also, The GAVI Alliance, which helps to increase access to immunizations, says it’s supporting more than 50 countries to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine by 2015.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid