"Through applying the knowledge from lessons learnt in public health, behavioral change awareness and environmental impact, we can inform, prevent, detect and treat childhood pneumonia, every breath is crucial, and every breath counts to deliver children from the dangers of pneumonia for good" - Toyin Saraki - Women Deliver 2016, Copenhagen.
Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children, worldwide. A preventable infectious disease that affects the lungs, pneumonia kills 1 child every 35 seconds and an estimated 2500 children daily, around the world. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In 2015 alone, pneumonia accounted for 15% of all deaths of children less than 5 years, with the highest morbidity among children aged 2 or less.
Nigeria has the highest burden of pneumonia child deaths in Africa and second-highest in the world, after India; with roughly 150,000 children dying annually and 17% of total infants deaths in the country resulting from the disease. Mortality due to childhood pneumonia has been strongly linked to poverty-related factors such as under-nutrition or malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and inadequate access to health care. In developing countries, a significant contributor to pneumonia deaths in children less than 5 years is household air pollution, accounting for 12% of pneumonia deaths.
Despite high mortality rates from pneumonia, only 2% of global funding on health has been invested in pneumonia in the last 15 years, and only 2 out of 5 children in sub- Saharan Africa access care when needed. Therefore to curb the incidence and prevalence of pneumonia in children, WHO and partners launched the Integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD), to end preventable deaths from these diseases by 2025, which, through strengthening of the prevention, protection and timely treatment triad, and bringing together of critical services and interventions that create healthy environment, promotes practices known to protect children from these diseases, and ensures every child has access to preventive and treatment measures. As the Marrakech Climate Change Conference continues to bring the world’s attention to 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), we highlight the inter-linkages between household pollution and environmental degradation on the increased susceptibility for pneumonia, most importantly the health risks of cooking with high-carbon deposit fossil fuels in unventilated surroundings. We call on stakeholders in Nigeria and around the world to commit to improving environmental sustainability and pollution reduction as not only a climate change issue, but also as the health issue it primarily is.
In January 2016, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), as Global Advocate, launched Speak Up Africa's Every Breath Counts Campaign championed by Her Excellency Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, Wife Of The President, Federal Republic Of Nigeria, to African First Ladies at the General Assembly of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), at the African Union Summit. Spearheaded in partnership with UNICEF, Speak Up Africa and other global partners, the Every Breath Counts Campaign is targeted at raising awareness among leaders, donors and policy makers on the need for increased funding and adequate policies for pneumonia interventions.
Receiving the Citizenship Engagement Award for pneumonia awareness at the 71st United Nations General Assembly, Mrs Saraki said "We have much more ground to cover in taking the every breath counts message to every home, every family, every woman and every child, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to partnering towards progress in ending pneumonia by educating and informing to the the last mile, mothers, the primary nurturers of community health"
The Every Breath Counts campaign seeks to reduce child mortality from pneumonia by ensuring all children are immunized; optimally breastfed and nourished; have access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and vaccinated against immune-suppressing illnesses like measles, HIV, etc. In addition, it promotes the reduction of household air pollution using clean cookstoves and facilitation of community access to effective and timely diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia with amoxicillin.
Partners In Progress To Prevent Pneumonia. "Every Breath Counts" Campaign
“I am deeply appreciative and encouraged that the work that my organisation and I have undertaken in past 12 years is internationally recognised. This is an award not just for me, but for the millions of frontline health workers around the world, most especially the midwives who I work with, who have dedicated their lives to helping women and newborns survive and thrive, they are the heart of the solution to transform health and wellbeing of women, children and communities, particularly in our goal to raise knowledge about preventing and treating childhood pneumonia through the global Every Breath Counts Campaign.”
Referenceshttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs331/en/ https://www.unicef.org/media/media_89995.html http://everybreathcounts.info/#stat_panel https://www.unicef.org/health/index_91917.html