15 Nov Pneumonia Report Card – Tools Not Widely Adopted in Countries where Disease Kills Most Children
In advance of World Pneumonia Day, the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) on Thursday released a report card (.pdf) showing that pneumonia prevention and intervention targets are not being met in the 15 countries where three-quarters of deaths in children under age 5 from the disease occur each year, IRIN reports. “Pneumonia kills more children under five every year — 1.6 million — than measles, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” the news service writes (11/11).
One of the challenges is broadening access to newer vaccines that protect against the leading cause of pneumonia – pneumococcal disease, VOA News writes. “So far, only two developing countries, Rwanda and Gambia, have been able to introduce pneumococcal vaccine as part of their routine immunization program,” said Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Alliance CEO Helen Evans. “In the case of Rwanda, although it is only 12 months on, a bit more than 12 months on since it was introduced; the country now has a coverage rate for pneumococcal vaccine of around 90 percent, which is very impressive, particularly considering how much of Rwanda is rural and remote,” she said.