COVID-19 spreads to countries with high child pneumonia deaths

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.

Credit: Oxygen4Life

Vulnerable populations under serious threat

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.

The critical questions

Q: How to protect maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition services in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Read answer from John Borrazzo, Senior Health Specialist at the Global Financing Facility

Q: How can international actors best support local manufacturing of WHO-recommended COVID-19 technologies, where appropriate and feasible?

Read answer from Dr Paulin Banguti, University of Rwanda, King Faisal Hospital & Rwanda Society of Anesthesiologists

Read more Questions & Answers >


Video highlights showing how coalition partners are responding to the pandemic – here



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