World Pneumonia Day: Saturday 12th November

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Pneumonia kills more children under five than AIDS, malaria and measles combined – one child every 20 seconds, to be exact. Many of these are lives that can be saved. Vaccines, antibiotics, reducing indoor air pollution and breastfeeding during the first six months of life represent effective and affordable methods of combating this treatable and preventable disease. But millions of children in developing countries – where an estimated 98% of child pneumonia deaths occur – have only limited access to these life-saving solutions.

On Saturday 12th November, all over the world people will come together to mark the third World Pneumonia Day with a range of events – last year’s included a balloon release in Buenos Aires, a marathon in Jaipur and a nationwide children’s art contest in Cameroon. By raising awareness of the deadly effects of pneumonia, World Pneumonia Day organizers The Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia hope to encourage funders, policy makers, health professionals and the man in the street to add their own efforts to the fight against the disease.

PLoS Medicine has published several recent papers on childhood pneumonia. In September 2011, Igor Rudan and colleagues reported on the results of a consensus building exercise that identified health research priorities to help reduce child mortality from pneumonia. Kojo Yeboah-Antwi and colleagues found in September 2010 that integrated management of malaria and pneumonia in children under five by community health workers is both feasible and effective. Penelope Marjorie Enarson and colleagues described in November 2009 the development, scale-up, and achievements of a national pneumonia program in Malawi, which is based on a successful anti-tuberculosis service delivery model.  And in PLoS ONE, Shaun Morris and colleagues, Adam Hersh and colleagues, and Evropi Theodoratou and colleagues, among others, have all published on childhood pneumonia in the past six months.

For more information on World Pneumonia Day and the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia, and for tips on how to get involved and do your bit for this important cause, visit the World Pneumonia Day website: http://worldpneumoniaday.org/.

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