Every Breath Counts

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

Our overarching goal is to reduce the number of children dying from pneumonia to less than 3 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030 – by closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment.


The biggest killer

Pneumonia is the single biggest killer of children: claiming almost 800,000 lives each year. That is almost two fatalities every minute of every day.

Pneumonia deaths are falling but more slowly than other major causes of child mortality. And too slowly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030. Almost all the fatalities are readily preventable through vaccination and treatable with low-cost antibiotics and oxygen. Yet the death toll continues.

A disease of poverty

It is the poorest 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 pulse oximetry and oxygen provision – are not reaching those in greatest need.

By 2030, pneumonia will kill 11 million more children unless the world takes decisive action now.

The Every Breath Counts Coalition

Who we are

The Every Breath Counts global coalition of UN agencies, businesses, donors and NGOs have committed to supporting governments in 10 countries with some of the highest burdens of pneumonia. The 40 members provide support to close the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment, which could save hundreds of thousands of child 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 work in 10 countries with some of the highest burdens of pneumonia and very slow progress in reducing those deaths. In these countries, closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment can save the greatest number children’s lives.

Pneumonia cannot be treated in isolation

Too many cases of pneumonia are misdiagnosed because health systems do not provide access to effective and affordable care.

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 and empowered health workers.

We need a strong primary healthcare system that reaches the most disadvantaged children, which is the foundation for progress towards Universal Health Coverage.

Find out more about our goals

We all have a role to play in ending preventable child pneumonia deaths by 2030

Latest from the blog
  • For three days in late January 2020, 400 individuals from 60 countries gathered in Barcelona to work out better ways to fight the leading infectious threat to child survival - pneumonia. Leith Greenslade, coordinator of the Every Breath Counts Coalition, a 40-member public-private partnership, reflects on what was achieved and what it means for children.

  • The first Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia. A snapshot through photos.

  • The challenges in pneumonia diagnosis in low-resource settings have been well documented. The current method routinely used involves community health workers manually counting a child’s breath for one minute - the respiratory rate. This is often not done, or done poorly, frequently leading to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.