From: Jen Farber
Posted To: ihpnetwork
Conversation: New WHO data underscores global threat of the world’s leading child killer (Pneumonia)

Following up on Thursday’s coverage on the drop in child mortality in the New York Times – and the threat that pneumonia still presents to children under 5 – I wanted to be sure you are aware of this:

For the first time in a decade, the World Health Organization has global burden data on the Hib and pneumococcal disease – the two leading causes of pneumonia. This study also offers the first-ever country-by-country look at the disease burden. The vast proportion of deaths from Hib and pneumococcal disease occur in the developing world where vaccines are not in widespread use.

While pneumonia receives less media coverage than other illnesses, it is the leading killer of children worldwide. Pneumonia kills more children than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. As Reuters reported, more than a million children die every year from two pneumonia-causing diseases easily prevented with vaccines.

This new data offers the most compelling case to country governments to make investments in low-cost vaccines. And through a new financing mechanism administered by the GAVI Alliance, $1.5 billion is now available to low-income countries to access pneumococcal vaccines affordably and quickly.

Developing country governments now have the information and the tools necessary to invest in pneumonia prevention and treatment programs. All that is needed now is action by countries to prioritize prevention, which will enable countries to make notable progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals for child survival.

published in the (Lancet) on September 12.

For more information and country-specific estimates, visit http://www.who.int.

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