World Pneumonia Day 2013: Focus on Saving Children

World Pneumonia Day 2013


Pneumonia is a significant concern for child health and child survival worldwide, and more important to achieving Millennium Goal 4 than I realized.  Take a look at this description of the current situation:

“According to UNICEF, pneumonia kills more children under five than any other single cause – an estimated 1.1 million children in 2012 and 17 percent of all child deaths (6.5 million). 80 percent of deaths are among children under two years of age and 330,000 are among newborns.  60 percent of deaths occur in just six countries – India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Ethiopia – because in these high population countries most children with suspected pneumonia are not taken to an appropriate health care provider and even fewer receive antibiotic treatment, and the pneumonia-fighting vaccines – especially the pneumococcal vaccine –– are often not routinely available.” (

I’m not sure how many people globally could identify pneumonia as the number one killer of children under the age of 5. Before researching for this blog, I might have incorrectly thought that tuberculosis (a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in young adults) had a significant share in the under-five mortality pie. According to Unicef’s 2013 Report (p. 13), the breakdown looks like this for under-five mortality globally:

In good news for Millennium Development Goal 4, there has been significant decline in rates of each of the leading causes of under-five mortality in the last decade, but tuberculosis is persistently the leading cause:

Figure from: (p. 21)

Even with this progress, Leith Greensdale calculates that while observing World Pneumonia Day today, the global community finds itself, “with 780 days left to prevent the deaths of an estimated 3.5 million children under five and achieve Millennium Development Goal 4.”

While meditating on this heavy reality, I’ll take the opportunity to share some library information resources for further investigation of this topic:

  • Millennium Development Goals Research Guide: (Newly- created!) Resources for research on reducing child mortality, as well as the reducing the global burden of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other communicable diseases (including pneumonia).

  • GIDEON: A point-of-care clinical decision support system used for diagnosis and reference in the fields of tropical and infectious diseases, epidemiology, microbiology and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Also featured are over 5,000 images, 30,000 graphs, 347 interactive maps to visually display incidence, prevalence and other disease estimates.

  • Incidence and Prevalence Data (database): Data is fully sourced and is broken down by U.S. and international data, which includes non-U.S. country-specific data. Statistical summaries allow researchers to see all prevalence and incidence data found in the IPD for a particular disease or procedure. In addition, the summary includes 6-year U.S. trend data for hospital inpatients and outpatients, physician office visits, and emergency department visits.

I also recommend one other open-access searchable database of “over 7,000 financial, economic and social datasets,”: Searching for “tuberculosis” yields 32,412 dataset results!

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