Pneumonia Careseeking Scorecard: How serious are countries about achieving UHC?

Pneumonia Careseeking Scorecard: How serious are countries about achieving UHC?

Download the full scorecard here

Credit: Peter Casamento for FREO2

“I might want to take the child to the health centre but the doctor will want money and I don’t have it. So, there is nothing else I can do to help the baby. I just sit and wait for the child to get better.”  Mother, Homa Bay, Kenya.

An alarming 40 percent of children with symptoms of pneumonia are NOT taken to an appropriate healthcare provider in the 40 countries with 90 percent of child pneumonia deaths.

In 14 countries, more than 50 percent of children with pneumonia symptoms are NOT taken for care.  In countries such as Somalia it is as high as 77 percent.

Children living in poor households are least likely to be taken for care.  Mothers face many barriers to seeking heath care for sick children – including catastrophic out-of-pocket payments, lack of transportation to healthcare facilities and poor-quality care. 

Pneumonia careseeking is critical to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) 

Careseeking for a child exhibiting the symptoms of pneumonia is now the official indicator for “child treatment” in the UHC Service Coverage Index. This means that countries seeking to achieve UHC must ensure that all children with pneumonia symptoms are taken to an appropriate healthcare provider. But no country has achieved universal pneumonia careseeking.

Improved careseeking is critical to ensure sick children are taken to and seen by a healthcare provider who can effectively diagnose and treat them – or refer them for special care. It is crucial for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal for child survival and progress towards UHC. 

Every Breath Counts is calling on all governments to set an official national target of at least 90 percent pneumonia careseeking by 2030; publish progress to the target annually; and Introduce new measures to achieve it by:

• Increasing parent and caregiver awareness of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia infection in children and the importance of seeking care within 24 hours at appropriate healthcare providers; 
• Introducing policies that significantly reduce or remove the barriers that prevent families from seeking timely care (user fees, distance, social-cultural, quality of care etc.); and
• Ensuring that the children most at risk of pneumonia death receive priority attention.

How well are countries performing on pneumonia careseeking?

This scorecard lists rates of pneumonia careseeking in each of the 40 countries with 90 percent of child pneumonia deaths. The scorecard uses the latest UNICEF estimates of pneumonia careseeking, and only countries with data after 2010 are included. Mortality data is from the Global Burden of Disease, 2019. 

Download the full scorecard here