Pneumonia is a common respiratory illness contracted by kids everywhere, from the United States to South East Asia. Between 2000 and 2015, annual global child deaths due to pneumonia dropped from 1.7 million to an estimated 920,000. Yet pneumonia remains a leading killer of children under the age of 5. The most vulnerable children are in poor and rural communities, underlining the need to improve equitable access to high quality care, diagnostics, and treatment for all children.
Actively working to prevent and treat pneumonia supports Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. In particular, SDG 3.2—ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age by 2030—can’t be achieved without continued effort and resources to beat pneumonia.
The good news: WHO and UNICEF have laid out a strategy in the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD). Controlling childhood pneumonia requires an integrated package of interventions to protect, prevent, and treat the disease. Fortunately, many of the interventions targeted at pneumonia also help control other childhood diseases, like diarrhea, and should be part of a comprehensive approach to child survival.