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Combination Of Interventions Could Reduce Childhood Pneumonia Deaths By 90%, Study Says

A combination of measures taken to improve nutrition, indoor air pollution, immunization and child pneumonia case management could reduce total child mortality worldwide by 17 percent and global pneumonia deaths by more than 90 percent, according to a study published in the June issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, UPI reports.

Researchers said that the “most cost-effective interventions were programs to promote better community-based treatment of pneumonia, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, zinc supplementation and vaccination for Hib and S. pneumoniae,” UPI reports. According to the study, the burning of solid fuels like wood for cooking and heating, contributed at least 20 percent to the burden of childhood pneumonia (UPI, 6/3).

Louis Niessen, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health, said, “The interventions we examined already exist, but are not fully implemented in the developing world. In addition, implementation of these interventions do not require a great deal of new infrastructure to carry out.” If these interventions were fully funded and implemented, they “could bring us a big step closer towards reaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goals,” Niessen said.

Majid Ezzati, co-investigator of the study and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the next step is to examine “how donors and countries currently deliver these interventions and want to progress in the coming years” (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health release, 6/1).  

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.