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World Pneumonia Day - 12 November 2018

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Pneumonia is one of the most preventable and treatable illnesses in global health, yet every minute two children die from this illness, primarily because they are denied the benefits of prevention, accurate diagnosis and treatment.

World Pneumonia Day on 12 November brings people from all over the world together, uniting to demand that something be done to fight pneumonia.

 The stats are dismal:

  • Most (99 percent) deaths from pneumonia occur in low or middle-income countries; 170 million children in these countries are not vaccinated.
  • Globally, only 35 percent of eligible children get the required three doses of pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Around 40 million episodes of pneumonia go untreated each year.
  • Almost 880,000 children under 5 years of age still die each year from pneumonia.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, less than half of children with symptoms are taken to a health care provider.
  • Pneumonia in early childhood may also increase the likelihood of developing a chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD) in adulthood.

Pneumonia is commonly caused by different germs that may be bacteria or viruses. Vaccines are available to protect children from some of the common germs and these can prevent pneumonia.

To treat pneumonia, case management guidelines that include indications for hospital referral and the use of antibiotics are effective.

FIRS calls upon governments, health care providers, researchers, funders and families to ensure:

  1. Improved and sustained access to effective interventions that prevent and treat pneumonia.
  2. Strengthened health systems that promptly and effectively deliver strategies to reduce pneumonia deaths, including provision of effective antibiotics and oxygen delivery systems.
  3. Increased support for strategies to prevent pneumonia including prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, provision of anti-retroviral therapy for HIV-infected children, reduction of exposure to tobacco and air pollution, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  4. Research support for innovative diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies.

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About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS)

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.