News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Call for a Comprehensive Approach to Childhood Pneumonia

Call for a Comprehensive Approach to Childhood Pneumonia

Shobha Shukla
November 10, 2012

Lung Week is 12-17 November

According to the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), child pneumonia remains a major threat to children under 5 years of age despite the great potential of the pneumococcal vaccine. “Pneumococcal vaccine is an important intervention that is already in use and highly effective in resource-rich settings – and it has great potential in high child-mortality settings too. However, tackling childhood pneumonia is a complex issue that requires a more comprehensive approach than a single vaccine”, said Dr Steve Graham of The Union’s Child Lung Health Division, to Citizen News Service (CNS).

The main reason for this is the fact that while pneumonia is caused by a wide range of pathogens the pneumococcal vaccine provides protection against Streptococcus pneumonia bacterium only. So while it has the potential to successfully reduce cases of child pneumonia and even protect populations who do not have easy access to effective health care, it alone cannot prevent pneumonia-related deaths in infants and children, including those due to non-vaccine pneumococcal serotypes, other common bacteria and viruses. In low- and middle-income countries, where 99% of the 1.5 million deaths from child pneumonia occur each year, factors like lack of access to health care; lack of standard case management, irrational use of antibiotics; malnutrition and HIV infection also contribute to high fatality rates.

In the opinion of Professor (Dr) Gourdas Choudhuri, Vice-Chairman, Institute of Digestive and Hepato-biliary Sciences, Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon and a noted public health expert, “Although the role of vaccines in preventing the disease cannot be overlooked, a vaccine may work well against some of the germs causing pneumonia but not all. So it is difficult to have a complete vaccine for full protection. The pneumococcal vaccine is a good vaccine. But the issue is whether the strains causing the disease, which are present in the community, are the same as those present in the vaccine, otherwise the vaccine will not work. Pneumococcus has many strains. So a routine immunization with one vaccine may not work.”

Hence for a more comprehensive approach on child pneumonia in all settings, The Union recommends other preventive strategies, as well as vaccine: nutrition and breastfeeding, reduction in indoor air pollution, hand washing and improved case management. Curative interventions include addressing the rising rates of bacterial resistance; models of community care; the role of zinc; focus on the needs of high-risk patients, such as those who are malnourished or HIV-infected and infants; as well as wider availability of oxygen therapy and other methods of respiratory support.

A case in point is The Union’s l Child Lung Health Project in Malawi, based on standard case management, which dramatically lowered the case fatality rate for severe pneumonia between 2000 and 2005 by 66% since the 2000 baseline. Pilot projects using this same approach have also been carried out in Benin, China and Sudan.

“Understanding the social and health system determinants of pneumonia causation and death is also crucial to developing comprehensive approaches”, says Dr Graham. “Incorporating comprehensive approaches in national plans for child survival is the way to proceed in reducing the threat of pneumonia.”

Let us hope that experts at the forthcoming 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Lung Week (12-17 November 2012) will impress upon stakeholders, civil society members and government officials the importance of a comprehensive strategy to prevent innocent children from succumbing to pneumonia and other lung health related diseases.

*************

Shobha Shukla is the Managing Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She is currently providing on-site news coverage from 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health, with kind support from the Lilly MDR TB Partnership and Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance). She is a J2J Fellow of National Press Foundation (NPF) USA. She received her editing training in Singapore, has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP and taught physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. She also authored a book on childhood TB (2012), co-authored a book (translated in three languages) "Voices from the field on childhood pneumonia" and a report on Hepatitis C and HIV treatment access issues in 2011. www.citizen-news.org

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Monarchy: Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Are Expecting Second Child

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child. More>>

ALSO:

2015: Elton John Plans Wellington Show

After nine years, Elton John and his band will return to Westpac Stadium, Wellington for one spectacular concert! The November 21, 2015 concert will feature iconic hits and classic album tracks from throughout his incredible five-decade career... More>>

Book Awards: Jill Trevelyan's Story Of Peter McLeavey Is Book Of The Year

The story of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey and his gallery has won the prestigious New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2014 in a glittering ceremony in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: King Richard

Simon Nathan reviews 'Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own': My father grew up in Wellington during Seddon’s premiership... I can recall him standing under the Seddon statue in the grounds of parliament and telling me that Seddon had more backbone than Sid Holland and all his cabinet colleagues put together.. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news