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?
EBC COVID-19 Commodities: partner & supplier lists – here
WHO situation report: here
WHO Resource Planning Tools: here
WHO Invasive and Non-invasive Ventilator Specifications – here
WHO-UNICEF technical specifications & guidance for oxygen therapy devices – here
IFRC, WHO & UNICEF Community-Based Health Care here
Ventilator Training Alliance here
Pandemic Supply Chain Network – PSCN
Every Breath Counts calls on leaders to make oxygen central to its Global Coronavirus Response. This could not be more urgent.
Children living in countries that do not offer the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine are dangerously exposed to pneumonia, the biggest infectious killer in the world. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, pneumonia killed an estimated 2.6 million people each year. Post COVID-19 this number will rise exponentially.
Follow-up letter to Global Forum participants