LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Pneumonia Day will be observed across the country including Lahore (today) to raise awareness about necessary precautionary measures to save children of under five from the deadly disease. 

The World Pneumonia Day is celebrated on November 12 every year. Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs and remains the leading killer of children around the world.

Seminars, workshops and walks will be arranged both at the government and private levels to raise awareness about the toll of pneumonia. Directorate General Health Services arranged a walk yesterday. DG Health Punjab Dr Mukhtar Hussain Syed led the walk participated by program managers and staff of the provincial Directorate.

Globally Pneumonia accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under five years, in Pakistan it is estimated that 29% of children deaths due to this disease.

Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition, and by addressing environmental factors. The mortality figures are high due to delays at three levels: by parents in taking the children to medics, in diagnosis and in provision of adequate treatment and emergency facilities.

 “In Punjab a new initiative to provide medical commodities for children suffering with Pneumonia and Diarrhoea has been initiated in the year 2016. The plan is being pilot tested in five districts with support from UNICEF- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” Advisor to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq.

It is estimated that annually more than five million cases of pneumonia are reported. Pneumonia affects children and families everywhere, but is most prevalent in marginalized population characterized by illiteracy, low economic status and geographically isolated inhabitations.   

The Punjab Expanded Program on Immunization has introduced pneumonia vaccine as part of routine immunization in 2012. The latest coverage survey reports suggest immunization coverage above 86%.

Also, the WHO and UNICEF have developed an integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD) that aims to accelerate pneumonia control with a combination of interventions to protect, prevent, and treat pneumonia in children.