Why are pneumonia and diarrhea still responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in children under 5? Released today, IVAC’s 2017 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report: Driving Progress through Equitable Investment and Action (PDPR) explores factors slowing progress in the most impacted countries against the world’s two biggest killers of young children.
Efforts to work and invest more strategically in immunization, nutrition, and treatment are critical to meaningfully reducing the nearly 1.5 million childhood deaths that still occur each year as a result of pneumonia and diarrhea.
IVAC’s Progress Report, issued annually since the Johns Hopkins Center helped establish World Pneumonia Day in 2009, also delves for the first time into the economic cost of the illnesses and sheds light on the complex relationship between childhood illnesses and poverty. Children in low-resource settings are at higher risk for illness; at the same time, pneumonia and diarrhea can contribute to the cycle of poverty.
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IVAC 2017 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report Launch & Dissemination
November 1, 2017
Key findings included:
Tanzania registers significant score improvement
All 15 focus countries—those with the highest number of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea—fell below the 86 percent target, but scores varied widely from a low of 19 percent (Somalia) to a high of 69 percent (Tanzania). Scores are compiled by measuring the degree to which interventions that protect against, prevent, and treat pneumonia and diarrhea are readily available to children.
Rotavirus vaccine coverage: Sudan and Tanzania achieved or exceeded the 90 percent target for rotavirus vaccine coverage. Ten of the fifteen countries failed to meet a threshold of 45 percent for this vaccine, which prevents a substantial portion of diarrhea deaths and hospitalizations. This includes nine countries (Afghanistan, Chad, China, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia) that had not yet introduced the vaccine and India, who began a phased introduction in 2016.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine coverage: Three of the fifteen countries achieved or exceeded the 90 percent target (Sudan, Tanzania, and Bangladesh) for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine coverage.
Antibiotic treatment for suspected pneumonia: In the eleven out of fifteen countries with available data, coverage of antibiotic treatment ranged from 7 percent (Ethiopia) to 59 percent (Sudan). Two countries met or exceeded 45 percent of children with suspected pneumonia treated (Afghanistan and Sudan).
ORS treatment for diarrhea: In the fourteen out of fifteen countries with available data, ORS treatment ranged from 20 percent (Chad and Sudan) to 77 percent (Bangladesh). Four countries met or exceeded 45 percent of children with diarrhea receiving ORS: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Tanzania.
Breastfeeding: About half of all diarrhea episodes and about one third of respiratory infections could be averted by breastfeeding. The global target for exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of a child’s life is 50 percent coverage. Based on 2015 data, the report finds five out of fifteen countries met or exceeded the target: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Sudan, and Tanzania.