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Announcements: World Pneumonia Day — November 12, 2012

Pneumonia is the leading killer of young children around the world, causing approximately 20% of all child deaths. For countries to reach United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child mortality by two thirds (from 1990 levels) by 2015, interventions to prevent pneumonia deaths need to be implemented (1). Illness and deaths from pneumonia can be reduced with the use of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), influenza, and measles vaccines; antimicrobial treatments; and exclusive breast feeding of young infants, among other strategies (2).

New vaccine introduction to prevent pneumonia in developing countries has had unprecedented momentum over the past few years. Hib vaccines have been introduced or are ready to be introduced in all 71 lowest-income countries eligible for GAVI Alliance funding by 2013, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are expected to be introduced in 54 of these countries by 2015 (3). In addition, a study to identify the etiology of pneumonia in developing countries is expected to generate data that will better guide prevention and treatment strategies, especially in countries that already are using Hib and pneumococcal vaccines (4).

The fourth annual World Pneumonia Day is being observed November 12, 2012, to raise awareness about pneumonia's toll and to promote interventions to protect against, treat, and prevent the disease globally. Activities are being promoted by a coalition of more than 140 community-based organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, and foundations. More information is available at http://worldpneumoniaday.org.

References

  1. United Nations Development Programme. The Millennium Development Goals: eight goals for 2015. New York, NY: United Nations Development Programme; 2012. Available at http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview.html. Accessed September 7, 2012.
  2. World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Global action plan for prevention and control of pneumonia (GAPP). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization/New York, NY: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); 2009. Available at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2009/who_fch_cah_nch_09.04_eng.pdf. Accessed October 28, 2010.
  3. Hajjeh R. Accelerating introduction of new vaccines: barriers to introduction and lessons learned from the recent Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine experience. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2011;366:2827–32.
  4. Levine O, O'Brien KL, Deloria-Knoll M, et al. The pneumonia etiology research for child health project: a 21st century childhood pneumonia etiology study. Clin Infect Dis 2012;54(Suppl 2):S93–101.

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