According to an analysis released by Johns Hopkins University and Save the Children, nearly 11 million children will die of pneumonia by 2030.
Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites. It causes the lungs to become inflamed and fill with fluid. The disease is treated with antibiotics, antiviral medication, antifungal medication, or with the preventative vaccination. Pneumonia primarily affects the elderly in developed countries, but it kills more children younger than five than any other infectious disease globally, and results in the deaths of nearly one million children per year.
The analysis released jointly by Johns Hopkins and Save the Children revealed that taking preventative measures could easily prevent four million of the predicted deaths. These recommended measures include increasing vaccination coverage to 90% of children younger than five, lowering the price of vaccines, providing easy and affordable access to antibiotics, and ensuring good nutrition. Furthermore, Save the Children also recommends investing in health care and improving diagnostics and treatments are essential to lowering the mortality rate of this disease.
In 2016, the most recent year for which we have full data, 880,000 children died from pneumonia. If these actions are not taken, the analysis predicts that the highest burden of deaths will fall on the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Save the Children aims to have their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) complete by 2030, including ending preventable child deaths and achieving universal health care.
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Image courtesy of Li Tzuni via Unsplash