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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.