There is something that you and I both do 23,000 times each day.
Breathe. Inhale life-sustaining oxygen, without which we’d only survive a handful of minutes. Breathing shouldn’t be a privilege. But it is. Around the world, pneumonia makes breathing impossible for too many, taking the lives of 920,000 children annually—a life every 2 minutes. That’s more than malaria and diarrhea combined.
When I first began my career, children dying from pneumonia seemed unavoidable. A pneumonia vaccine was not yet available and antibiotics were expensive and hard to access. This left kids vulnerable to disease, like those I treated in South Africa as a medical student. Every day, I listened to the crackling chests of young children as they fought for air.
Now, 25 years later, pneumonia is not only curable, but largely preventable. With the help of Gavi, more than 109 million kids in developing countries have been vaccinated with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which protects them against the leading cause of pneumonia deaths. Antibiotics are cheaper and more widely available. And even life-sustaining oxygen therapy is becoming more readily available, thanks to the WHO’s recent decision to list oxygen on the Essential Medicines List.
Read the full article about pneumonia prevention in developing countries at Global Health NOW
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