Monday is World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children under five, with 99 percent of deaths occurring in developing nations.
For most of us, pneumonia means staying home from school or work and potentially taking a course of antibiotics. For us, only in rare cases does pneumonia lead to death. However, in many developing nations, pneumonia is a severe illness, often deadly, especially when coupled with other factors such as malnutrition, weakened immune system, and lack of access to quality health care.
The United Nations has laid out 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform the world by 2030. The third is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” One of the best ways to pursue this is through childhood vaccinations. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent early childhood death from diseases like pneumonia. Once we address childhood mortality in developing nations, we can better begin to address other UN Sustainable Development Goals such as gender equality, climate change and education.
This World Pneumonia Day, the U.N. Shot at Life Foundation is encouraging you to take action and urge your representatives to support funding for global initiatives like UNICEF that make it possible for more children in developing nations to receive lifesaving vaccinations.