World Pneumonia Day 2020
World Pneumonia Day is celebrated to highlight the seriousness of pneumonia as a public health problem and to encourage more organizations/nations to look at ways of combating the disease. The day was first hosted in 2009 by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia (GCCP) that was formed to help build public and political support to address this problem. It's marked every year on 12 November to:
This year remembering the day becomes more crucial because of ongoing COVID pandemic that is causing increased deaths due to pneumonia and other causes. Enhanced efforts to control the pandemic will also contribute to reducing respiratory infections and deaths among both children and adults.
Infection prevention with three key measures - use of masks, social distancing, handwashing , and improved diagnosis and treatment (with pulse oximetry and oxygen) are very helpful during the pandemic and will save lives beyond.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs. Normally the alveoli (small sacs in the lungs) are filled with air during breathing, however, in pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid which makes breathing painful and reduces oxygen intake. Pneumonia is caused by several infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Presenting features of pneumonia in children under 5 years of age:
How is pneumonia transmitted?
Pneumonia can be transmitted in the following ways-
Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea:
The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) by WHO and UNICEF aims to accelerate pneumonia control with a combination of interventions to protect, prevent, and treat pneumonia in children. The goal is to reduce the deaths from pneumonia to fewer than 3 children in 1000 live births, and from diarrhoea to less than 1 in 1000 by 2025.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India is functioning with other ministries through various national programme (such as MAA, UIP, ICDS) with the involvement of ASHA/ANM/Anganwadi worker at the community level to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia. Various activities to control pneumonia under child health programme* include:
(a)Protect children from pneumonia by promoting good health practices from birth by:
(b)Prevent children from becoming ill from pneumonia and diarrhoea by:
(c)Treat children with appropriate treatment with timely access to trained health care providers either from a community-based health worker, or in a health facility if the disease is severe and can get the antibiotics and oxygen they need to get well.
There are three essential steps to reduce deaths among children under five with pneumonia:
1. Recognize a child is sick: Caregivers may play an important role in recognizing pneumonia’s symptoms and for that, all caregivers should know danger signs of pneumonia in children: cough and fast or difficult breathing.
2. Seek appropriate care: The second step is for caregivers to seek appropriate medical care for a child with suspected pneumonia. (Appropriate care includes providers that can correctly diagnose and treat pneumonia, such as hospitals, health centres, dispensaries, community health workers, maternal and child health clinics, outreach clinics).
3. Treat appropriately with antibiotics: Health personnel, including community health worker, should treat children with pneumonia with appropriate antibiotics and refer severe cases to health facilities. Inappropriate antibiotic use will waste resources and it will also increase antibiotic resistance.
“Stopping pneumonia isn’t about luck. It’s about action.”
We all have a role to play in ending preventable child pneumonia deaths by 2030.