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Interventions Aimed At Preventing, Treating Pneumonia In Children Need To Be Expanded In Developing World

“This month, USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) joins countries around the world in celebrating International Children’s Day,” Dyness Kasungami, a child health team leader for MCHIP, writes in the Huffington Post Blog, adding, “While great strides in child survival have been made in the past years, we also remember those children who do not live to see their fifth birthday — the 7.6 million children who die of preventable causes each year.” She notes, “Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under five, killing 1.4 million children each year, more than tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria combined,” and continues, “Children can be protected from pneumonia through behavioral interventions such as adequate nutrition during childhood, hand washing, and reducing indoor air pollution by using improved, well-ventilated stoves.”

Kasungami continues, “[W]hile these interventions are straightforward, culturally appropriate education for behavior change on these subjects needs to be increased in low-income countries.” She highlights several ongoing initiatives to prevent and treat the illness and concludes, “MCHIP has demonstrated its commitment to fighting for the lives of the 7.6 million children who die of preventable causes yearly, not only due to pneumonia, but also due to diarrheal illnesses, malaria and HIV. … This International Children’s Day, let’s celebrate our progress while remaining cognizant of the need to expand our health solutions to the children who are still unable to access effective prevention and treatment against illnesses” (6/14).