Child pneumonia deaths decline but one million still die yearly

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A child from Myanmar is undergoing treatment at Sun Flower Tachileik Hospital in Myanmar for a possible pneumonia. (file photo) UN Photo/Kibae Park

Child deaths from pneumonia have declined by 44 per cent since 2000, although the disease remains among the leading killers of children.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) released those figures on the fifth World Pneumonia Day marked annually on 12 November.

The disease kills more children under five than HIV/AIDS, malaria, injuries and measles combined, the agency says.

With nearly one million deaths a year, there is no room for complacency, insists the head of UNICEF's global health programmes, Dr Mickey Chopra.

Poor rural communities are the hardest hit.

Household air pollution is a major cause of pneumonia.

In addition, poor children are less likely to be immunized against measles and whooping cough, which are also among major causes of the disease.

To combat the illness, UNICEF is urging the scaling up of the availability of antibiotics in a child friendly tablet.

Simple measures like early and exclusive breastfeeding, hand washing with soap and vaccination can also reduce the number of children falling sick.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations.

Duration:  58″


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