Pneumonia kills 1.3 million children a year, says UNICEF

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Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide

Pneumonia is a preventable and treatable disease, yet 1.3 million children die of the disease a year, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

World Pneumonia Day is observed on 12 November to focus attention on the disease which claims children's lives mainly in developing countries.

UNICEF says that inoculating children for diseases such as measles and influenza and providing antibiotics can cut the number of pneumonia deaths by almost a quarter.

Marixie Mercado is UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva.

"Pneumonia is the single largest cause of deaths for children. It kills 3400 children a day, 1.3 million children a year. It's a disease that affects the poorest. Ninety per cent of these deaths are among the poorest and most marginalized communities of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But it's easily preventable and is easily treatable. Basically the evidence shows that if the poorest households had the same basic interventions that are available to the richest households, millions of children would live."

One of the eight Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in 2000 to improve people's lives is to reduce child-mortality.

The UN Secretary-General's global movement to advance the health of women and children has joined forces with the Global Coalition Against Pneumonia to draw attention to the critical importance of the achievement of this goal.

Duration: 29″

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