Shot At Spelling "Pneumonia"
November 12, 2013 BY Purnima Ramakrishnan
I asked my son, who just turned seven, to spell pneumonia—he prides himself on being a Spelling Bee Champion. As a mother, I was so proud and happy when he spelt it right. He did a whoop and ran away to play outdoors.
Unfortunately, not many children live to be old enough to do this. Pneumonia accounts for 18% of child deaths in developing countries and is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India accounts for 50% of child pneumonia deaths. Each year, six million children are affected and 370,000 children die from pneumonia.
The good news is that the Indian government has taken huge steps to eradicate pneumonia. By introducing the pentavalent vaccine, it is hoped that India could better control and manage pneumonia for children under the age of five. The government has also made their Acute Respiratory Tract Infection (ARI) programs a top priority. Because of these programs, health care workers can successfully diagnose, manage and treat pneumonia along with other respiratory tract infections.
Awareness and responsibility has also been embraced by the people of India. For example, I helped rally women and mothers to raise awareness of the importance of immunisations worldwide through the GAVI Global Tea Party, an initiative from the GAVI Alliance and World Moms Blog.
Below is a picture from a GAVI Global Tea Party I recently hosted at my house in Chennai, India. My 90 year old grandmother took part and said that one generation’s efforts in sticking to the immunisation schedule will help eradicate a disease from the whole country.
Pneumonia is a killer disease which can be prevented by a vaccine. India is on the right track, and so is the world. As a mother and as a blogger from an international community, which includes many Shot@Life Champions, I am proud to say that we are doing our part to help give all children a shot at being spelling bee champions.
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