15 Nov Make a difference this World Pneumonia Day
More than 1.5 million kids under the age of 5 die every year from pneumonia. Who knew? In wealthy countries, we tend to think of pneumonia as a disease of the elderly, but pneumonia actually kills more young children than HIV, measles and malaria combined. Another child dies from pneumonia every 20 seconds.
Fortunately, there’s a well-established organization ready to help poor countries get the vaccine out to children. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was established by donors to pool their funding to buy and distribute new child vaccines. So far, it has helped vaccinate 60 million children for a range of diseases including Hib (Haemophilus influenza b) a major cause of pneumonia. There are also new vaccines against pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of pneumonia, and GAVI plans to introduce these in more than 40 of the world’s lowest-income countries by 2015.