UNICEF and global partners have launched the “Every Breath Counts” campaign to urge African leaders to increase funding for pneumonia interventions.
Pneumonia kills nearly 1 million children under the age of five around the world, causing more deaths than HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, and malaria combined. Progress in the fight against the disease has been slow compared to progress in other leading diseases. Childhood pneumonia deaths have fallen by just 50% compared to an 85% decline in measles deaths, and 60% in deaths from malaria, AIDS and tetanus in the last 15 years. Funding has also remained low: for every global health dollar spent in 2011, only 2 cents went to pneumonia.
The campaign, “Every Breath Counts,” seeks to raise awareness among leaders, donors and policy makers of the need for increased funding and more adequate policies for pneumonia interventions. Such measures would help:
- Prevent pneumonia by immunizing children, reducing household air pollution and improving hygiene practices;
- Protect new born babies from pneumonia though exclusive breastfeeding;
- Facilitate community access to effective and timely diagnosis and treatment with amoxicillin as well as oxygen for severe cases.
Every Breath Counts was launched during the African Union Summit at the General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA).