Government has been scaling up approaches to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia and diarrhoea among under-fives since 2012.
Over 10 Ministers of Health from Asia and Africa have convened in Barcelona, Spain for the inaugural Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia to ensure that Pneumonia is at the forefront of national and global health agendas.
The convention is also meant to galvanize national action and mobilize the donor community to increase awareness of the scale of the pneumonia challenge. The Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, who represented Uganda said Pneumonia accounts for 10 per cent of under-five deaths in Uganda adding that at least 25 children in Uganda die of pneumonia daily.
Aceng added that the Government of Uganda has been scaling up approaches to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia and diarrhoea among under-fives since 2012.
Some of the approaches adopted were the promotion of breastfeeding, Immunization, vitamin A supplementation and treatment of pneumonia with appropriate antibiotics.
"Working with partners, the Ministry of Health launched the national Oxygen Scale-Up plan to improve oxygen availability to all health facilities to improve treatment of hypoxemia- lack of adequate oxygen in the blood when one is suffering from pneumonia."
"Additional efforts done are scaling up the Integrated Community Case Management of the three main childhood killer diseases; diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria to all districts in Uganda, and improving community health by strengthening preventative and curative services through the Community Health Extension Workers," Dr Aceng added.
According to a demonstration by Johns Hopkins University, scaling up pneumonia treatment and prevention services can save the lives of 3.2 million children under the age of five.
The demonstration also indicates that it would also create ‘a ripple effect' that would prevent 5.7 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time, underscoring the need for integrated health services.
"The introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine in 2013 with coverage now at 96% in addition to the Pentavalent vaccine which contains the vaccine against the Haemophilus influenza virus was a great stride to end morbidity due to pneumonia."
Aceng revealed that Uganda is committed to ending Pneumonia among children by 2030.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid.
Although some types of pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines and can be easily treated with low-cost antibiotics if properly diagnosed.
participants at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia will agree on concrete steps governments and their partners can take to dramatically reduce child pneumonia deaths.