Childhood pneumonia is arguably the world’s single most neglected disease. Every year, the illness claims the lives of more than 800,000 children under five, making it the single biggest killer of children. (This includes more than 153,000 newborns (or nearly 3% of global under-5 child mortality) who are particularly vulnerable to infection). That shocking figure – a life lost every 39 seconds – is falling more slowly than for other major killers, and too slowly for the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of an end to preventable childhood deaths. Despite the death toll and the slow pace of progress, pneumonia has received insufficient attention from the international community and – sadly – from the governments of countries in which pneumonia is a major cause of childhood mortality.
World Pneumonia Day on November 12th was established to draw awareness to the disease and drive governments and stakeholders to take action. Find more information about the day on the Every Breath Counts Coalition site here.
In the meantime, you can read up on progress on childhood and newborn pneumonia in this report published by Save the Children in partnership with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2021 and the Child Health Spotlights, published in 2022.