Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. The most common bacterial cause of pneumonia is the pneumococcal bacterium (streptococcus pneumonia). While most healthy children can fight an infection from pneumococcal bacterium with their natural defenses, children whose immune systems are compromised by malnutrition, and other factors common in developing countries, face a higher risk of developing pneumonia from the infection.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was developed to protect against strains of pneumococcal bacteria that are most common. The recent global introduction of these vaccines marks a historic milestone in global health, as these new vaccines have been made available in record time to children in the world’s poorest countries.
Introduction of the vaccine is just the first step, ultimately the goal is to include the pneumococcal vaccine in routine immunizations. By early 2015, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance had facilitated the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine to 50 of the world’s poorest countries.
Shot@Life actively advocates to the U.S. government for support for global childhood immunizations, which includes funding for Gavi — the world’s largest supplier of pneumococcal vaccines to developing countries. In addition, Shot@Life raises funding and support from the private sector for Gavi.
Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide.
Pneumonia killed nearly 1 million children in 2013. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The significant declines in childhood deaths (50% reduction between years 1990 and 2013) are attributed to many effective interventions including the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine.
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs331/en/
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: http://www.gavialliance.org/support/nvs/pneumococcal/#