Fighting for Breath: Taking Action for World Pneumonia Day

By Inés Rénique

November 14, 2017

This post originally appeared on the Shot@Life blog.

Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Every minute pneumonia leads to the death of two children under five years of age. Nonetheless, when the average American adult thinks of pneumonia, he or she commonly associates it with a mild recovery time, rarely implicating an untimely death.

This outsider perception stems from the fact that 99% of child deaths from pneumonia occur in developing countries. These deaths are happening in some of the most forgotten areas in the world, where children often do not have access to a definite diagnosis followed by proper treatment and recovery.

While the cost of effective antibiotic treatment for pneumonia is relatively low, we must also consider the need to transport these vaccines, to acquire adequately trained health care providers, and the need for consenting parents. These factors all come into play when traveling to the most remote places in the world delivering lifesaving vaccines. See this process in action here!

That is why this Pneumonia Day 2017, we highlight those that are taking on the challenge of reaching children worldwide and the positive impact these global efforts create. Below are three simple but impactful ways you can work towards lowering rates of pneumonia deaths worldwide.

  1. Seek Accountability: tell officials why pneumonia should be a priority
    In 2013, UNICEF and the WHO came together to develop the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea, in the hopes of ending preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025. This plan is a positive step towards holding officials accountable for the 2025 goals.
    A specific way you can support these 2025 goals, is through asking your local members of Congress to continue supporting the UN, UNICEF, and WHO. Sign the Shot@Life petition to make sure your legislator knows you prioritize global access to vaccines.
  2. Engage with Partners Across Sectors
    When Shot@Life and Walgreens came together, they pioneered a partnership that today has been able to provide more than 20 million lifesaving vaccines to children in need around the world. A simple act like getting a flu shot at a Walgreens in the United States will supply a vaccination to a child in a developing country. Challenge private organizations to join in the campaign to ensure children worldwide have access to vaccines since healthy children are an investment in the future.
  3. More Than SDG #3: Share why pneumonia is such a cross-cutting subject
    The Sustainable Development Goal #3 entails ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all children at all ages. Reducing the child mortality rate of pneumonia will work towards achieving SDG #3, but the positive effects will extend well beyond the goal.

For children to be healthy, we must reduce inequalities, as these disparities are the reason it is mainly disadvantaged children that are affected by pneumonia. Then once a child is healthy, he or she needs access to a quality education. Therefore, whether your passion is global health, or education, or gender equality, whether it’s accomplishing SDG Goal #10 or Goal #14, the SDG’s continue to be interconnected and interdependent. The accomplishment of one SDG can set a domino effect of positive social good.

Take Action Challenge

  • Want to learn more? Watch our Facebook Live with Martha Rebour, Director of Shot@Life. She shares how everyone can work to #StopPneumonia. 
  • Get a shot. Give a shot. You can help provide a lifesaving vaccine through Shot@Life when you get a flu shot at Walgreens. Learn more
  • Follow our friends at Shot@Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn how they educate, connect, and empowers individuals to champion global vaccines as one of the most effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.

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