Against the backdrop of the emerging coronavirus, 350 representatives from more than 55 countries met in Barcelona in January at the first Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia to discuss strategies to control pneumonia, the leading infectious killer of children. Since the Forum, COVID-19 has spread rapidly – with almost every country around the world now experiencing confirmed cases.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic impact for vulnerable populations, especially among children, in countries that are already experiencing heavy burdens of pneumonia, as ill-equipped health systems struggle to respond.
The Every Breath Counts Coalition urges global and national health leaders – including the 12 agencies who signed the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All – to coordinate efforts to support countries to protect their vulnerable populations from COVID-19.
Ensuring fast, accurate and affordable diagnosis and treatment will be critical in most countries. Urgent action is also required to increase awareness of pneumonia and improve careseeking behaviour, and to adopt preventive measures such as handwashing and physical distancing.
Every Breath Counts believes pneumonia control is critical to reducing child deaths, to the national achievement of child survival goals, and to protect vulnerable populations from pneumonia epidemics caused by novel pathogens like COVID-19.
We welcome the announcements from the World Bank, Global Fund, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, United Nations and others of new financing initiatives and guidelines. We will continue to urge global and national health leaders to respond to COVID-19 in a manner that strengthens the health systems’ ability to prevent, diagnose and treat pneumonia.
This is our chance to reverse decades of under-investment in pneumonia control and protect vulnerable populations from future epidemics.
Q: How to protect maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition services in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Q: How do we prioritize invasive versus less-invasive respiratory therapies in low-resource settings?
Q: How can international actors best support local manufacturing of WHO-recommended COVID-19 technologies, where appropriate and feasible?
On 25 September 2020, the Access to Medicine Foundation and the Every Breath Counts Coalition co-hosted a first-of-its-kind virtual roundtable with industry, investors, global health agencies to explore opportunities to increase access to medical oxygen in low and middle-income countries.
How can countries solve complex vaccine decision-making? Vaccine Cost Calculators from PATH, available for rotavirus and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, help countries compare immunization program costs using different vaccine products to simplify decision-making.
Every Breath Counts underscores the critical role of access to medical oxygen in reducing deaths from COVID-19 across LMICs and appeals to the ACT-A Facilitation Council to guarantee significant, additional financial support is provided to help LMIC governments ensure that no COVID-19 patient dies for lack of medical oxygen.