New Research Findings

New Childhood Pneumonia Research Findings

Noteworthy peer-reviewed publications with major implications for child pneumonia programme design and implementation:

Child wasting

More than half of child pneumonia hospital deaths are attributable to child malnutrition, especially wasting. Children who are moderately underweight and hospitalized with pneumonia are twice as likely to die, and children who are wasted are four and a half times as likely to die.

These estimates do not include community deaths or account for post-discharge mortality, which is higher for children with pneumonia and severe malnutrition.

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Mothers have little say in whether a child with pneumonia symptoms is taken for care, according to a new study from India. This echoes the findings of an earlier study from Nigeria, which found that children were more vulnerable when fathers had no role in child-rearing and when mothers were restricted in movements and social interactions.

Empowering mothers should be a critical part of any effort to increase timely care-seeking and reduce child pneumonia deaths.

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PCV – a life-saving vaccine

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is one of the most life-saving vaccines yet more than one out of every two children under five globally is not fully protected.

PCV not only reduces sickness and deaths from pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis but can save governments and families money. A recent study from The Gambia found that the government and households saved $US7 million over 20 years while the vaccine cost $US2 million to roll out.

Every Breath Counts has called on every country to protect more than 90% of their children with PCV by 2025.

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Community management of non-hypoxemic children

Children aged two months to five years with non-hypoxemic pneumonia can be treated at home with five-days of amoxicillin by trained, equipped and supervised community health workers – thus saving families the expense of a hospital trip.

Every government should ensure amoxicillin can be safely dispensed by community healthcare workers.

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Oxygen – a life-saving and cost-effective intervention

Hospitals with fully functioning oxygen in their paediatric wards can reduce child pneumonia deaths by nearly a half and all-cause child deaths by a quarter.

This makes oxygen one of the most lifesaving investments a hospital and government can make. International donors need to heed this research and invest more in helping LMICs close access to oxygen gaps.

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Credit: UNICEF/UN068210/Wieland