The world’s health ministers passed a resolution calling for increased focus on the prevention and treatment of childhood pneumonia—the world’s leading killer of children. The ministers, meeting in Geneva for the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly, called for collective action by policy makers, donor agencies, and civil society to fight childhood pneumonia by accelerating access and delivery of proven pneumonia prevention and treatment interventions.
“No child should suffer from a disease that is so easily prevented and treated,” said Mary Beth Powers, chief of Save the Children’s Newborn and Child Survival campaign. “Yet, more than 1.5 million children each year die from this disease. With existing and affordable vaccines and antibiotics most of these lives could be saved. This resolution calls on countries to use these tools and outlines how doing so will save millions of young lives.”
The resolution calls for the implementation of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) and estimates that the recommended interventions—including vaccination against measles, pertussis, Hib, and pneumococcal disease, treatment with antibiotics, and protective measures like breastfeeding and improvements in indoor air quality—could achieve a 67% reduction in pneumonia deaths by 2015.