World Pneumonia Day: Keeping Kids Healthy Around the World

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November 12, 2014

WPD_Lucia_Vaccine

Lucia, at the clinic with 3-month-old Julio. “Vaccines prevent him from getting different infections. I want him to be healthy.” Julio’s older siblings get all their vaccines and are 7 and 3. Julio fussed a little with the needle pricks but quickly settled peacefully on his mother’s breast.

Pneumonia is something all parents dread, especially for their kids. Healthy kids who get pneumonia are usually able to fight the infection with their natural defenses, but that’s not the case for children with weaker immune systems.

Worldwide, pneumonia is among the leading causes of death in children, taking the lives of 1.1 million kids under the age of 5 each year. The majority of these deaths occur in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Preventing pneumonia is possible, and is an important focus of the United Nations. Access to vaccines, medications, and proper care are priorities for the UN and its partners as they work toward reducing the number of children dying around the world. From 1990 to 2013 the number of children dying was cut in half, likely due to the introduction of things like the pneumococcal vaccine.

The availability of vaccines to children in the world’s poorest countries is critical to reducing childhood death rates, and preventing pneumonia. The best way to prevent pneumonia in children is immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles, and whooping cough (pertussis).

Julio chilling on mom’s lap after his vaccines.

Julio chilling on mom’s lap after his vaccines.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is working hard to make vaccines available to everyone, and is on track to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine to protect children from pneumonia in 45 countries by 2015.

(The photos in this post are from Mozambique, where we recently saw kids receiving this essential vaccine)

Take Action Challenge

For World Pneumonia Day, how about giving to Shot@Life? It only costs $10 to provide one child with a lifetime of immunity from pneumonia.

 

Images: Chrysula Winegar. Chrysula was in Mozambique with the International Reporting Project (IRP).

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