THE World Health Organisation (WHO) and aid agencies have urged countries to adopt a new approach to fight pneumonia and diarrhoea
By Carol Kasujja
As the world today celebrates World Pneumonia Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and aid agencies have urged countries to adopt a new approach to fight pneumonia and diarrhoea together, the largest killer diseases among infants.
Pneumonia is the second biggest killer of children under the age of five in Uganda, after malaria.
WHO recommends treatment of Pneumonia and diarrhoea at the same time, as the best way to eliminate the infections.
At a press conference on Monday, Godfrey Magumba, the country director of Malaria Consortium Uganda, said diarrhea had been neglected for long, yet it kills many children.
“We are adding our voice to the call for innovation to reduce the burden of pneumonia and save lives. We know how important it is to correctly diagnose pneumonia and do so on time. Innovation to improve diagnosis could be the key to reduce a large portion of under-five deaths,” said.
“We are looking forward to working with the health workers and learning important lessons about what works best in Uganda to appropriately diagnose children with pneumonia on time and increase the likelihood of their survival.”
Over 36,000 children die each year from pneumonia and diarrhea in Uganda. Less than 50% of children with the disease have access to an appropriate antibiotic, calling for targeted and effective approaches to tackle the diseases at scale.
Early this year, the government rolled out the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 10), a vaccine to prevent diseases caused by the pneumococcal bacteria.
The vaccine was to be administered alongside other childhood vaccines against tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, influenza B and measles to lower the high infant mortality rate in the country.
Magumba said a mobile phone application with a respiratory timer had been developed to easily and accurately count a child’s breathing rate and assess whether they have pneumonia.
Countries urged on new approach to fight pneumonia