New Delhi (NVI): Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death among children under five years old, which claimed lives of at least 6,72,000 children last year.
World Pneumonia Day is observed on November 12 worldwide every year, to promote interventions in protecting against the disease as well as preventing and treating pneumonia.
The day was first celebrated in the year 2009 by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia. Since then the day has provided an annual forum for the world in standing together against the disease.
Pneumonia – an infection of the lungs caused by various classes of viruses, bacteria and fungi, a contagious infection that inflames the air sacs present in the lungs with fluid or pus which leads to cough, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing. It affects people in all age groups but it is particularly life-threatening for kids and person above age of 65 years.
Although, the disease is easily preventable and treatable, the number of deaths by the disease is huge.
The day holds great significance as Pneumonia is the world’s leading infectious killer of children, claiming one child every 39 seconds. This day calls for action including donor investment to combat pneumonia, which is observed around the world through various events and activities related to the disease.
This year the World Pneumonia Day 2020 will be conducting amid a global pandemic that is dramatically increasing pneumonia deaths from COVID-19 and other causes.
According to the Stop Pneumonia Initiative, COVID-19 could add 1.9 million to the death toll this year. It could increase all-cause pneumonia deaths by more than 75 per cent.
This Pneumonia Day has called for governments and stakeholders in ensuring a massive effort to control the pandemic and reducing the respiratory infections and deaths among both children and adults, it said.
Apart from this, global health agencies including Save the Children and UNICEF call for governments and donors to build on the investment and efforts made to respond to COVID-19 to strengthen health systems that can tackle childhood pneumonia.