Global Health Strategies in India

In urban slums, Indian children are vulnerable to respiratory infections like pneumonia because of poor hygiene and sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and indoor air pollution. Many are not reached by prevention efforts and lack access to treatment if they do become ill. Photo by Divakar Mani.

Global Health Strategies(GHS) in India is leading a variety of activities in support of World Pneumonia Day, including broadcast media, a village health fair, and a civil society workshop.

The organization created a short film titled “The Breath of Life,” which highlights problems in diagnosing and treating pneumonia. The story is narrated through the experience of two children – one who got care in time and another who did not – and highlighted the subsequent consequences faced by their families. Placing the children at the center, the film weaves in all the elements of pneumonia, such as causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention efforts. Doctors and health activists working on pneumonia explain the challenges India faces in tackling pneumonia. GHS plans to air the film on cable and satellite TV channels.

In addition, CNN-IBN, one of India’s leading 24-hour English news channel will telecast a half hour show around World Pneumonia Day. The show will include a panel discussion comprise of experts who can talk about the disease and a comprehensive approach to treatment including vaccines. The show will include short stories from the field on how pneumonia impacts the lives of Indian children.

GHS conducted a Pneumonia Awareness Fair in Padrauna district of Uttar Pradesh, India to raise awareness among parents – especially those with children under five years old – about childhood pneumonia. The event reinforced the importance of exclusive breast feeding, vaccination and nutrition for pneumonia prevention, and provided basic health screening for under-five children, especially focusing on acute respiratory infections (ARI). The health screening and referral services were provided through active participation from the district hospital as well as private practitioners.

Global Health Strategy Workshop participants in Tamil Nadu engage in an exercise designed to help them understand the impact of pneumonia at the family and community level and they role they can play in preventing it. Photo by Ragini Bahadur.

Lastly, using World Pneumonia Day as a platform, GHS organized a workshop in the state of Tamil Nadu, which was one of the first states to introduce the pentavalent vaccine against pneumonia-causing Hib bacterium in a 5-in-1 vaccine in December 2011. The four-hour workshop brought together civil society organizations and government officials to raise awareness and facilitate interaction on issues related to the prevention and management of pneumonia.