Save The Children Launches Major Campaign To Fight Against Pneumonia
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children has published a major report as it embarks on a global war against pneumonia which seeks to save millions of lives over the next half decade. The report, titled “Fighting for Breath” terms pneumonia as ‘the forgotten child killer’ and claims that the disease is responsible for more deaths of children aged under five than any other disease. Apparently, pneumonia kills two children under five every minute which is more than measles, diarrhoea and malaria combined.
Children simply lack the immunity to fight off infection
Over 80 per cent are victims aged under two because they have weak immune systems caused by malnutrition and insufficient breastfeeding and cannot fight infection. Save the Children is pushing for a summit of world leaders to take place which would force action and cut the death toll. The organisation has a long wish list which includes cheaper vaccines and greater investment in immunisation. Governments should adopt preventive plans that deliver universal access to health workers who diagnose the disease. It also wants to ensure that antibiotics which save lives are more easily available.
Life saving medication is cheap but unavailable
It costs just 52 cents to administer a course of antibiotics that can save the life of a child affected by pneumonia within three to five days. Unfortunately, these medicines are simply not available in the most affected countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Save the Children UK chief Kevin Watkins who also was the lead author of the report says it is not excusable that so many children die from a disease that is perfectly treatable. He adds that pneumonia is a disease that leaves children who are vulnerable, fighting to breathe and their parents having to deal with anxiety and in the worst cases, grief and trauma from the loss of a child.
The cost of vaccination needs to drop
As a result, Save the Children is urging for the immunisation of 166 million children aged under two and for greater action to be take to help 400 million children globally who have no access to healthcare. 50 per cent of all mothers in Africa do not have access to healthcare when they give birth. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who now runs the Kofi Annan Foundation has lent his support to the effort and says that cost of vaccination US$9.15 in developing nations is simply too expensive. He argues that pharmaceutical companies, governments, donors and agencies need to combine forces to drive down the cost of vaccinations so that more lives are saved.
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