Pneumonia is an infection that causes air sacs to inflame or in other words, we can even say that it is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs. This disease spreads by the viruses and bacteria which are present in the droplets of coughs and sneezes.
Lungs are filled with pus and a fluid which makes breathing difficult. Children with a weak immune system and underlying illnesses are more susceptible. This is the reason millions of children are killed every year.
There are some advances been made to fight the disease back such as vaccines, antibiotics and providing supplemental oxygen. In 2009 it was South Africa first among all the African countries who took the first initial step of including pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in their infant immunization programme. It is by 2012 when 81% of one year children had been given three doses of vaccine.
South Africa has also taken steps against pneumonia by antiretroviral therapy and HIV prevention. This has truly made a remarkable difference as usually children of HIV mothers are at a greater risk of developing pneumonia disease and death.
But still much more advancement is needed, in 2016 influenza and pneumonia became the second leading cause of death among children in South Africa.
There are many advances going on which will strengthen our fight against pneumonia but almost all of them are complicated and expensive like making more efficient vaccines. However, there are still some ways which are not expensive like providing clean air and water as well as the right amount of nutrition.
There are many arguments going on that basics should be implemented for preventing pneumonia. The only solution to put an end to these unexpected deaths of children due to pneumonia can be stopped by basic techniques like by reducing poverty and inequity.
With understanding any disease one of the basic things to know is data and same is the case with pneumonia. At institutes, the researchers studied the pathogens that circulate at a given time.
Different population groups were also studied and the risk of developing infection or death. All of this data helps to determine the rise and fall in disease. This further helps in developing new vaccines and improving the current vaccine schedules. For example, babies in the first few months of their life are more to develop pneumonia thus the mothers are vaccinated in their third trimester.
Improvements are also being made in the diagnosis sector, such as improved radiological methods, point-of-care tests which are utilized to speed the process of diagnosis and host biomarkers which helps in determining the cause of infection by checking the immune response developed by the person.
All of us know that basic things that contribute to increasing the risk of developing pneumonia and death are malnutrition, poor hygiene and sanitation, household air pollution, and poverty. In 2015 about 30,3 million people were living a life of poverty. It is very important to provide the children with a good nutrition, clean water, and air as well as vaccines and basic necessities for healthcare.
The cost of improving the living conditions of children should be compared with the high cost of clinical management of childhood pneumonia. The burden of childhood pneumonia all around the world can easily be reduced by taking simple initiative steps and prioritizing the child’s health. This also includes all the basic health care necessities and affordable medications.