Childhood Pneumonia- Fact Sheet

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  • 8/8/2019 Childhood Pneumonia- Fact Sheet

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    Globally, every 15 seconds, a child dies of pneumonia. Almost all of these deaths occur in

    countries such as ours.

    Pneumonia causes more child deaths than any other illness. The death toll due to

    childhood pneumonia is higher than the total deaths due to AIDS, malaria and measles

    combined.1

    One in five child deaths in the world due to pneumonia occur in India. It is the number one

    cause of child deaths in India.

    In India 20%, or one in five, deaths of children under the age of five years are due topneumonia.

    Pneumonia kills over 400,000 children in India each year; highest in the world.2 This is

    roughly equivalent to a school bus full of young children dying every hour.

    In India, one child younger than five years of age is affected by pneumonia every second. 3

    Early diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia is the key to survival; however mothers

    generally fail to recognize the early symptoms like cough and wheezing.

    Two out of five cases from the poorest families do not seek treatment for acute respiratory

    infection (ARI), even when children have identifiable symptoms.4,5 Families often delay

    treatment for girls more than boys in some states of India.

    Treatment with appropriate antibiotics can prevent child deaths due to pneumonia. In India,

    only 10-20% of the children affected by ARI, receive antibiotics for treatment.5

    Immediate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding till the

    age of six months confers protective benefits to the infant against infections such as

    pneumonia. In India, less than 50% of children are exclusively breastfed upto six months of

    age.5

    Immunization against measles and pertussis (whooping cough) can reduce the risk of

    pneumonia. Only half the children receive measles vaccination before completion of 12months of age or the required three doses of the Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT)

    vaccine.5

    Fact Sheet

    1 United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO). Pneumoniathe Forgotten Killer of

    Children. September 2006. ISBN-13:978-92-806-4048-9/ISBN-10:92-806-4048-82 Rudan I, Tomaskovic L, Boschi-Pinto C, Campbell H. Global estimate of the incidence of clinical pneumonia among children

    under five years of age. Bull World Health Organ. 2004;82:895903.3 Calculated based on data available from- Rudan I, Tomaskovic L, Boschi-Pinto C, Campbell H. Global estimate of the

    incidence of clinical pneumonia among children under five years of age. Bull World Health Organ. 2004;82:895903.4 Includes children with symptom of rapid breathing which is one of the diagnostic symptoms of pneumonia.5 International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. 2007. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-

    3), 2005-06:India:Volume I. Mumbai: IIPS.

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    The contents of this leaf are made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for

    International Development (USAID). The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Emerging Markets Group

    Ltd. and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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    Reshmas Survival Story:

    Not all is well

    Every second in India, a child falls sick with the

    number one killer, pneumonia. It is estimated that

    pneumonia kills one child younger than five years

    of age almost every minute, or four lakh children a

    year. This is an unacceptable fact considering that

    pneumonia can be prevented and treated simply and

    inexpensively. However, all that is known has not

    been put to action. Reshmas story describes this

    unmistakably.

    1 Reshmas story was shared by Sayan Chatterjee (MD student) and Sriram Krishnamurthy (Assistant Professor). Lady Hardinge

    Medical College and Kalawati Saran Childrens Hospital

    T

    hetimetoactisnowUSAID

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    ReshmalivesinasluminDelhiwithherparent

    sandfoursiblings.HerfamilymigratedfromA

    ssam

    fewyearsagoinsearchofabetterstandardof

    living.Reshmasfatherisadailywager,earnin

    g

    aboutRupees100perday,whenheiscontract

    ed. Hereldestbrother,whoisonly12yearsol

    d,

    worksatateashopearningRupees800perm

    onth.

    Attheageofthree,Reshmaweighsonly9kgs,

    muchbelowthenormalweightforherage.Sh

    ehas

    notreceivedalltherecommendedvaccinat

    ions. Shehashadtwoepisodesofpneumonia

    inthelast

    sixmonths.Herfamilyconsultedanearbyprivatepractitionerfortreatmentduringthefi

    rstepisode.

    Herconditionimprovedandsymptomsofcoug

    h,feverandfastbreathinggraduallydisappeare

    dwith

    theuseoforalantibiotic. Thefamilydidnothav

    eenoughfinancestoconsultaprivatepractition

    er

    duringthesecondepisode.Theypostponedsee

    kingmedicaladviceandtreatmenttillReshmas

    conditionbecamevisiblylifethreatening.Shew

    asfinallytakentoagovernmenthospitalwhere

    shereceivedpromptmedicalattention.Reshm

    arecoveredafter14daysofhospitalization.Th

    ough

    thefamilydidnotincuranydirectmedicalexpe

    nses,Reshmasfatherlosthisdailywagesfor

    the

    durationofherhospitalstay. Therewereothe

    rexpensespertainingtotransportationandRes

    hmas

    medicalandnutritionalneedsafterhospitaldis

    charge.Herfamilywasforcedtoborrowmoney

    from

    alocalmoneylenderatanexorbitantinterestra

    tetosustaineventhefamilysbasicneeds

    1.

    IfReshmasfamilyhadactedquicklyandtakenhertothegovernmenthealthfac

    ilitywhen

    thesymptomsofcoughinganddifficultbreathin

    gfirststarted,Reshmamaynothaverequired

    hospitalizationandthefamilywouldnothaveh

    adtospendsomuchonhertreatment.

    Coughanddifficultbreathinginachildme

    anspneumonia,seektreatment

    immediately.

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    The

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    Preventing childhood pneumonia requires a multi-faceted approach. Children who are not

    fully immunized and get preventable childhood diseases such as measles and/or whooping

    cough are at risk of pneumonia. Factors in the home that put children at risk of pneumonia

    include overcrowded living, tobacco smoke and smoke from open chullahs(cooking fires).

    Weak children are at greater risk of acquiring pneumonia. These include, children whoare undernourished, are born weighing less than 2500 grams, and are sick with measles,

    whooping cough or infected by HIV. Families can prevent pneumonia by:

    ensuring their newborns and infants are fully immunized,

    initiating breastfeeding within an hour of birth, practicing exclusive breastfeeding for the first

    six months and providing sufficient healthy complementary foods once children reach six

    months, and

    eliminating indoor smoke by using smokeless chullahsand prohibiting smoking in the home.

    Early recognition of symptoms and prompt treatment seeking by caregivers can preventdeterioration of the illness and can save poor families from a financial catastrophe. Rural

    children, children of non/less educated mothers and those coming from poor families are less

    likely to seek treatment. Paradoxically, these children are at greatest risk of acquiring and

    dying of pneumonia.

    Preventive measures like practicing exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, providing

    appropriate nutrition to children based on daily requirements for essential nutrients, growth

    monitoring and vaccination amongst others will go a long way in reducing the incidence of

    pneumonia.

    However, once the child is affected, the key to survival is timely recognition and prompttreatment. Pneumonia begins as something less severe and if detected on time can be

    managed effectively with inexpensive antibiotics.

    Pneumonia kills more children than any other disease. This silent killer claims more

    children every year in India than the total casualties of tsunami in 2004 across 11

    countries.

    The contents of this leaf are made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for

    International Development (USAID). The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Emerging Markets Group

    Ltd. and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    on Childhood Pneumonia

    What is pneumonia?

    Pneumonia is a severe acute lower respiratory infection that specifically affects the lungs. Pusand fluid fill the alveoli, the smallest air spaces in the lungs, and make it difficult to absorboxygen.1,2

    How do I identify pneumonia? What are the commonsymptoms?

    Rapid breathing is the most sensitive sign of pneumonia. There are different cut-offs forbreathing rate (that is, number of breaths per minute) depending on the age of the child. 3

    Other symptoms include cough, fever, chills, loss of appetite and wheezing.

    In severe pneumonia, children may experience lower chest wall indrawing, where their chestsmove in during inhalation (in a healthy person, the chest expands during inhalati

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