About us

The Every Breath Counts Coalition is the world’s first public-private partnership to support national governments to end pneumonia deaths by 2030.

We have an ambitious goal: to reduce the number of children and adults dying from pneumonia – by closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Find out more about our 2019-21 Strategy and 2021 Workplan

AN URGENT PRIORITY

The biggest killer

Pneumonia is the world’s biggest infectious killer of adults and children –  claiming the lives of 2.5 million, including 672,000 children, in 2019. 

Pneumonia deaths are falling. But too slowly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030.

COVID-19 could add 1.9 million to the death toll this year. This would increase ‘all-cause’ pneumonia deaths by more than 75 percent.

While children suffer far less from the direct impact of COVID-19, the potential secondary impact caused by the disruption of health services, as well as increased rates of wasting, might account for up to 2.3 million additional deaths among children under the age of five – more than a third from pneumonia and newborn sepsis alone.

A disease of poverty

It is the poorest, most marginalised, children who are most at risk. These children are more likely to be malnourished and experience bad sanitation and indoor air pollution, and are the least likely to be vaccinated, correctly diagnosed and treated.

Innovations that could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year – from new vaccines to low-cost antibiotics to pulse oximetry and oxygen provision – are not reaching those in greatest need.

By 2030, pneumonia will kill almost 6 million more children unless the world takes decisive action now.

The Every Breath Counts Coalition

Who we are

The Every Breath Counts Coalition of UN agencies, businesses, donors and NGOs have committed to supporting governments in countries with some of the highest burdens of pneumonia. The 48 members provide support to close the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment, which could save hundreds of thousands of pneumonia deaths each year.

Find out more about our members

What we do

Identifying the most vulnerable children and ensuring they receive proven, high-impact interventions at every level of the health system would enable us to close the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

In most countries expanding coverage of the pneumonia-fighting vaccines (Hib, PCV and measles) will be a top priority because current coverage rates are often low. In other countries improving access to proper diagnosis and treatment with better tools like pulse oximetry and increased access to child-friendly antibiotics, oxygen and therapeutic foods will be crucial.

Working directly with mothers and families to improve child nutrition, air quality and female literacy and agency will boost progress across all countries.

Where we work

We support ‘double-burden’ countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America that are struggling with heavy burdens of COVID-19 and child pneumonia deaths. In these countries, closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment can save the greatest number of lives – from both COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Newborn Foundation
Photo credit: Newborn Foundation

Pneumonia cannot be treated in isolation

Decades of underinvestment in preventing, diagnosing and treating pneumonia has left most countries with health systems that do not have the right equipment or the trained health care workers to effectively diagnose and treat respiratory infections.

The poorest parents are often left to pay for care they cannot afford, or the clinics serving them lack essential medicines, diagnostic equipment and trained health workers.

COVID-19 has alerted governments to the dangers of respiratory infections like pneumonia, and to the need to build strong health systems so they can effectively diagnose and treat these conditions, with a key focus on vulnerable populations. 

Many countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America that are struggling with heavy burdens of COVID-19 and child pneumonia deaths will need effective strategies to fight both.

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