LONDON, November 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of World Pneumonia Day 2010, leaders in the fight against pneumonia will gather in London on Tuesday 16 November for a roundtable briefing from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Global Action Against Childhood Pneumonia. The meeting will highlight the progress made since the inaugural World Pneumonia Day in 2009; build on the recent World Health Assembly resolution calling for 193 countries to put in place pneumonia prevention, protection and treatment policies, which will save up to one million children under five per year; and demonstrate the UK's commitment to help meet the targets of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4.
Pneumonia kills more than 1.5 million children every year; one young life every 20 seconds, making pneumonia the world's leading killer of children under five. While pneumonia affects children and families everywhere, it has the most deadly impact in the developing world, where over 98% of pneumonia deaths occur. The tragedy is that pneumonia is both preventable and treatable. According to the WHO and UNICEF in their 2009 Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP), up to 67% of deaths could be avoided with simple interventions such as vaccinations and treatment with low-cost antibiotics scaled up to 90% coverage.
Last November the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia launched the first World Pneumonia Day, which was celebrated in 36 countries on six continents. This year, the Coalition includes over 100 organisations from around the world.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Stephen O'Brien MP, will be speaking at the event. As well as representatives from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI Alliance), other partner organisations, and representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth, the High Commissioner of Sierra Leone will also be in attendance at the APPG meeting in Westminster to provide an important in-country perspective on pneumonia prevention and treatment.
"World Pneumonia Day provides a global platform to ensure that the prevention and treatment of pneumonia is given the priority that it needs as the world's biggest childhood killer," said Helen Evans, Interim CEO of the GAVI Alliance. "Vaccines are used throughout most of the developed world to protect children from this devastating disease; however, millions of children in developing countries still lack access to these life-saving vaccines, resulting in hundreds of thousands of child deaths each year which could be prevented."
"Given the grave burden of childhood pneumonia on developing nations, international partnership and action is key," said Professor Kate O'Brien from Johns Hopkins University's International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). "We are delighted that the APPG and other UK partners are actively supporting and engaged in the realisation of the goals of the GAPP. We urge other wealthy nations to also prioritise and lead in the fight against childhood pneumonia."
Jim Dobbin MP and Lord Avebury, co-Chairs of the APPG, also stated: "It is important for the UK to be at the forefront of international measures to help combat preventable and treatable diseases in the developing world. The APPG has worked closely with the coalition government and welcomes the commitment and leadership it has shown globally on this matter. The APPG works with other governments across the developed world and is increasingly lending advice and support to developing world governments and organisations. The APPG welcomes the work of organisations such as GAVI, IVAC, Save the Children, UNICEF and others and is committed to doing all it can to support such efforts from the UK."
Notes to the editor
About the Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia
The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) was released on World Pneumonia Day last year by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It outlined a six year plan for the worldwide scale-up of a comprehensive set of interventions to control the disease. Countries are urged to implement a three-pronged pneumonia control strategy that:
- protects children by promoting exclusive breastfeeding and ensuring adequate nutrition and good hygiene; - prevents the disease by vaccinating them against common causes of pneumonia such as Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal disease) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); - treats children at the community level and in clinics and hospitals through effective case management and with an appropriate course of antibiotics.
To download the Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia, visit http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2009/WHO_FCH_CAH_NCH_09.04_eng.pdf.
About The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia
The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia and the World Pneumonia Day Coalition was established in April 2009. It seeks to bring focus on pneumonia as a public health issue and to prevent the millions of avoidable deaths from pneumonia that occur each year. The coalition is grounded in a network of international government, non-governmental and community-based organizations, research and academic institutions, foundations, and individuals that have united to bring much needed attention to pneumonia among donors, policy makers, health care professionals, and the general public. Learn more at http://www.worldpneumoniaday.org
About Millennium Development Goal 4
In September 2000, 189 world leaders met at the United Nations Millennium Summit and agreed to meet eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. A milestone in international cooperation, these efforts to provide access to basic human rights are improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. MDG 4 aims to reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. For more information on MDG 4 see http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/MDG_FS_4_EN.pdf
For more information please visit:
- World Pneumonia Day; http://worldpneumoniaday.org/ - All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pneumococcal Disease Prevention in the Developing World; http://www.appg-preventpneumo.org.uk - GAVI Alliance; http://www.gavialliance.org/ - IVAC: http://www.jhsph.edu/ivac
SOURCE: All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Global Action Against Childhood Pneumonia and GAVI and IVAC
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