World Pneumonia Day 2015

World Pneumonia Day took place on 12 November 2015. Read more about the day here

Pneumonia Progress Report 2015

Produced by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

2015 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report

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Click here to access the full report.


Universal access for pneumonia prevention and care

Below are the World Pneumonia Day 2014 key messages. For message consistency, these messages are the central content that should be used in all communications about WPD 2014 to increase their global repetition and strengthen their impact.

The set of key messages is designed to be used as a list of which members of the Coalition against Child Pneumonia can pick and choose to integrate them in their press releases, speeches, news items, tweets, facts and figures for social media, etc.  Members of the Coalition can integrate more specific information into the key messages in their own communication outputs.
  • Pneumonia is the #1 infectious killer of children under age 5 globally: Every year nearly 1 million children die of pneumonia worldwide, about 15 percent of total deaths for children under age 5 – of which 2 percent are newborns. The decline in pneumonia deaths has been slower than other diseases. We must scale up our efforts if we are to meet the global challenge to end these preventable child deaths by the year 2030.
  • Poor and rural communities are most affected: Pneumonia affects children and families everywhere but almost all deaths from pneumonia occur in poor or rural communities. Pneumonia is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, of which India, Nigeria, Pakistan, DRC, Ethiopia, and China account for 50 percent of total deaths.
  • Close the access gap by reaching all children with existing interventions: Evidence shows children are dying from pneumonia because existing effective interventions outlined in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) are not readily available for all. Proper nutrition, vaccinations, hand-washing with soap, low-emission cookstoves and exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, can help protect children and prevent pneumonia. For children and newborns who fall sick with pneumonia, early access to effective, appropriate, affordable antibiotics and oxygen therapy can be lifesaving. If more widely accessed and properly used, these existing interventions could protect and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and newborns.
  • Better access to integrated quality care can drastically reduce child mortality: Prompt and correct treatment of pneumonia and diarrhoea, which account for 25 percent of all child deaths globally, can drastically reduce child mortality. The determinants of these diseases are often the same, meaning the same interventions can help to address both diseases, such as exclusive breast feeding, proper nutrition, HIV prevention and measles vaccination. Further integrating quality care of childhood illnesses in community and health facilities.
  • Access to better equipment for the detection of pneumonia aids better quality care: Many children die because healthcare providers do not have the equipment needed to easily detect signs of pneumonia. The world must continue to invest in the development and consistent use of improved methods for the detection of mild and severe pneumonia infection. Prioritising the introduction and use of these tools will aid appropriate diagnosis and inform treatment, helping reduce child pneumonia deaths and prevent antimicrobial resistance.
  • Momentum of MDG4 must be sustained: The world has made substantial achievements in child survival, the number of under age 5 deaths worldwide has declined by nearly 50 percent (12.7 million deaths in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2013). Yet, Millennium Development Goal 4, which calls for reducing the under age 5 mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015, is still out of reach for many countries. The momentum and political commitment must be sustained to achieve continued reductions in child mortality and reduce deaths from pneumonia and other infectious diseases.
  • Strengthened commitment to ending preventable child deaths in the Post-2015 Agenda: Ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under age 5 by 2030 and achieving Universal Health Coverage are part of the current Sustainable Development Goals. Universal Health Coverage is key to increasing access to prevention and quality care services for pneumonia. Coverage of and access to pneumonia treatment in children could also be an effective indicator to track progress on health in the Post-2015 Agenda. However there is an on-going need for better quality data on health indicators.

Call to Action

In recognition of the 6th annual World Pneumonia Day on November 12, 2014, we call for an urgent end to the number of preventable child deaths worldwide by reaching every child with interventions that prevent and treat pneumonia and other childhood diseases. To achieve this, we call on:
  • Governments: to prioritise interventions for the prevention and treatment of pneumonia to reduce overall child morbidity and mortality due to pneumonia, especially in high burden areas where known gaps in access exist.
  • Non-governmental organisations: to recognise the importance of pneumonia in contributing to child morbidity and mortality, as well as to prioritise and provide support for interventions accordingly.
  • Donors: to commit funds to the prevention and treatment of pneumonia, for the development of new tools and effective implementation of proven solutions.
  • Academia: to continue investing in sociocultural research on knowledge, attitudes, cultural practices and health seeking behaviours, the most equitable and cost-effective delivery strategies, as well as new solutions for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia.
  • Public: to encourage their governments to increase investments in pneumonia interventions for populations most affected.


Malaria Consortium Pneumonia Project Brief

  • Our projects aim to #FightPneumonia by bringing essential disease prevention and treatment methods to those who need them most.
  • The goal of the project is to identify the most accurate, acceptable, scalable and user-friendly respiratory rate timers and pulse oximeters for the detection of pneumonia symptoms in children by community health workers and frontline health facility workers in four low-income countries
  • We bring health care closer to the homes of those most affected.

  • For children and newborns who fall sick with pneumonia, early access to effective, appropriate, affordable antibiotics can be lifesaving. For this project we looked at how to improve community health workers’ rational use of antibiotics to treat pneumonia

  • Better access to pneumonia diagnostic tools is crucial to #FightPneumonia. One of our projects is identifying the most accurate and user-friendly diagnostic tool for community health workers

  • View the full project brief here.


WPD Global Events

Organisation Type of Event Country
Malaria Consortium UK

Symposium on pneumonia diagnostics at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)


United States 

Malaria Consortium Cambodia


Event with discussion sessions  Cambodia

Malaria Consortium Ethiopia


Awareness raising event Ethiopia

Malaria Consortium Nigeria


Awareness raising event Nigeria 

Malaria Consortium South Sudan


Joint procession in Juba Town South Sudan

USAID/Targeted States High Impact Project (TSHIP)


Seminar; Ministerial round table; Twitter relay; and community outreach Nigeria

Malaria Consortium Uganda


Awareness raising event Uganda


Bringing Global Attention to Pneumonia


A link to a demo of the prototype pneumonia kit app:

Citizen News Service


Pfizer Australia


12 November 2014

   Say NO to pNeumO


World Pneumonia Day: understand the risks; take action for prevention


Embargoed - Wednesday November 12, 2014. Local experts have joined global efforts to raise awareness of the potential seriousness of pneumonia in infants and small children and highlight this sometimes devastating disease.


Note to editors: In recognition of World Pneumonia Day, Pfizer has developed an animated video and info graphic to draw attention to this life threatening respiratory disease and the importance of immunisation. [Video is password protected: PWPDAUST2014].


Every 20 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from pneumonia.1 It is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide.2

Professor Robert Booy from The University of Sydney said in Australia pneumonia continued to be a significant cause of hospitalisation of children under 5 years with the rate amongst indigenous children significantly higher than in non-indigenous children.3

“In Australia, as is the case around the world, pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia in children.” Professor Booy said. “It affects very young children and is a leading cause of death.”

“The good news is that pneumonia can often be prevented through good hand washing, managing conditions like diabetes and limiting exposure to cigarette smokers.” Professor Booy said.

“Immunisation is also an important part of managing the risk. In fact, the World Health Organisation suggests that vaccines against pneumococcus, Hib, pertussis and measles can help prevent a substantial proportion of pneumonia cases from ever occurring.

In Australia, the National Immunisation Schedule provides vaccines that help to prevent infection by bacteria or viruses that may cause pneumonia4 however despite this, there are still close to 36,000 Australian children whose parents or carers have opted not to vaccinate.5

“As such, we simply cannot afford to be complacent and need to take steps for prevention and protection.” Professor Booy said.

Every year, Pneumonia kills an estimated 1.1 million children under the age of five - 18% of all deaths - worldwide. That’s more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.2 Children are susceptible to diseases at a young age, and the consequences of these diseases can be very serious, and even life-threatening, for infants and young children.6

“Ensuring children receive all of their vaccines, on time, every time can help provide protection against this potentially deadly disease.” he said.

Pfizer’s Medical Director for Australia and New Zealand Dr. Scott Williams said, although many people associate pneumonia with certain times of the year, it is possible to contract the disease at any time.

“Even with treatment, a course of pneumonia can be long and patients may take weeks or even months to fully recover. Parents and caregivers may need to take time from work to care for sick children, increasing the risk of them becoming sick themselves and creating a heavy burden for families, communities and governments.” Dr. Williams said.

“World Pneumonia Day is a chance to ensure that parents, carers and clinicians are aware of pneumonia and its potential severity. Vigilance around timely and complete immunisation can help us to say NO to pNeumO.”



  1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Features. Pneumonia can be prevented: vaccines can help. Available at: Accessed September 19, 2014.
  2. World Health Organisation (WHO). Media Centre. Fact Sheet: Pneumonia. Available at: Accessed: 15 October 2014.
  3. Richmond, P and Burgner, D. The burden of pneumonia in children: an Australian perspective. Paediatric Respiratory reviews (2005) 6, 94-100.
  4. Australian National Immunisation Program. Pneumococcal Disease. Available at: Accessed October 15, 2014.
  5. Immunise Australia Program. ACIR-National Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data. Available at: Accessed: October 1, 2014.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children. Available at: Accessed September 23, 2014.


Millenium Development Goals (MDG) Health Envoy 

Dear World Pneumonia Day supporters,

A new report released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) for World Pneumonia Day (November 12, 2014) finds that international development assistance targeting pneumonia represents a very small portion of overall global health financing.  

Pushing the Pace: Progress and Challenges in Fighting Childhood Pneumonia finds that in 2011, just 2% ($US670 million) of the estimated $US30.6 billion of international development assistance for health was spent on fighting pneumonia, the leading infectious disease killer of children under five. In contrast, pneumonia claimed 905,059 children’s lives in 2013, or 14% of all under five deaths.

The report finds that reductions in child pneumonia deaths since 1990 (58%) have not kept pace with other childhood killers, for example measles (83%) and diarrhea (68%).

Progress has been particularly slow for high-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa where declines in total child pneumonia deaths averaged just 14%.  Nigeria only saw a 4% decline in total child pneumonia deaths and a number of countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Cameroon, actually experienced increases in child lives lost to pneumonia.  

The fact that many of the countries that have performed so poorly in reducing child pneumonia deaths have achieved remarkable reductions in reducing child deaths from other causes suggests that the level of investment and disease prioritization are critical factors, and also imply a lack of integration in managing the major childhood killers in these countries.  

In contrast, countries like China, India, Iran, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Indonesia have all recorded reductions in child pneumonia deaths above 70% since 1990, an indication that dramatic reductions in child pneumonia deaths are possible. 

The report finds that over 80% of the estimated $US670 million of development assistance for pneumonia in 2011 was invested in vaccine programs, while other areas of pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment, specifically breastfeeding, reducing indoor air pollution, improving pneumonia diagnostic technologies and access to antibiotics and oxygen therapy have not received the same levels of investment.
We need to mobilize more resources to protect children from contracting pneumonia by increasing vaccine, breastfeeding and clean cooking coverage, and we need to identify and treat the children who contract pneumonia with the right diagnostic technologies, antibiotics such as the amoxicillin dispersible tablet and oxygen therapy where necessary, all of which are still unavailable to the majority of children with pneumonia in most low resource settings.

And critically, because we know that seven out of every ten child pneumonia deaths now occur in just 15 countries, new investments need to prioritize the sub-populations of children in these countries, with a special focus on sub-Saharan populations where child pneumonia deaths are actually increasing.

Comments on the report include: 

Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Chris Murray said, “Achieving the ambitious new goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030 will not only require significant additional investments in preventing, diagnosing and treating childhood pneumonia, but these investments will need to be targeted to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where deaths are most concentrated and progress is lagging.”

Director of Pneumonia at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Keith Klugman said, “We need to reach the most vulnerable children with the prevention, diagnostic and treatment technologies that are currently available while at the same time accelerating the search for better tools, especially diagnostic technologies that can identify the children most at risk of death from pneumonia.  It is essential that the discovery, development and delivery of existing and innovative pneumonia technologies is better integrated with other areas of child survival, especially diarrhea, nutrition, and malaria, as part of integrated community case management of childhood illnesses.  For the most vulnerable children who live far from formal health services and often in fragile settings we need to find innovative ways of delivering integrated community care close to their doors.”

Chief Strategy Officer at PATH, Amie Batson said, “We welcome new data that better profiles this global killer of children and calls for action to accelerate progress to save young lives, no matter where a child lives.  The report shows what we know from evidence and experience. Vaccines are protecting millions of children worldwide from pneumonia, but there is a pressing need for more effective care and treatment to achieve global goals faster. This means investments in innovations for new diagnostic tools and wider access to child health services that integrate pneumonia with care for other childhood illnesses, like diarrhea, malnutrition and malaria, to save more lives.”

Vice Chair at the MDG Health Alliance, Leith Greenslade said, As the global health community debates the development of a new Global Financing Facility to mobilize the significant additional financing that is required to achieve the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030, there is an opportunity to achieve a better alignment between the major causes of child death and the allocation of development assistance for health.  The fact that many of the countries that have perfumed so poorly in reducing child pneumonia deaths have achieved remarkable reductions in reducing child deaths from other causes (e.g. diarrhea and measles) suggests that disease prioritization and level of investment are critical factors.  If we want to achieve MDG4 by 2015 and end preventable child deaths by 2030 we need to make sure that our spending tracks disease burden more closely than it has to date.”

The report was prepared by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation under the leadership of Chris Murray and Bill Heisel with special thanks to Rhonda Stewart and to the lead IHME author of the report Nancy Fullman.

World Pneumonia Day 

Pneumonia Prevention and Care Available for Every Child is Key to Defeat World’s #1 Infectious Killer of Children 

Posted on November 12, 2014

Media Contact:

Marian Blondeel, Malaria Consortium

Tel: +44 (0)20 7549 0552



On the sixth annual World Pneumonia Day, the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia calls for urgent action to end preventable child deaths caused by pneumonia by 2030.

(London, UK) — Every day, more than 2,500 children under age five die of pneumonia, which is close to one million each year. This is nearly 1 in 6 of the total deaths in that age group. Today, the world commemorates the sixth annual World Pneumonia Day by calling on leaders to increase universal access for pneumonia prevention and care in order to end preventable child deaths by 2030.

Although the number of under-five deaths worldwide has decreased by half since 1990, many countries are not on track to reach Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4), which calls for a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality by 2015. Poor and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are most behind on achieving this goal, with India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia accounting for almost 50 percent of total pneumonia child deaths. As we approach the MDG deadline of 2015, the world needs to speed up progress and increase political commitment toward reducing child mortality, which requires addressing preventable deaths from pneumonia, other infectious diseases, and complications around prematurity at child birth.

“Combatting pneumonia is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to health and child survival, and to laying the groundwork for ending all preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who launched the Every Woman Every Child movement in 2010 to accelerate progress on women’s and children’s health. “We need a persistent and integrated approach to this preventable and treatable killer of children. I call on all sectors to come together now to defeat this disease.”

Children are dying from pneumonia because proven interventions that boost their natural defences and create a healthy environment, such as adequate nutrition, early and exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, vaccinations, hand-washing with soap, and low-emission cook stoves, are not available to all. For sick children and newborns, early access to antibiotics and oxygen therapy can be lifesaving. Better equipment for the detection of pneumonia is also essential. Equitable access to the right prevention, diagnosis, and care is crucial to defeat the disease.

Pneumonia and diarrhoea together account for one quarter of all under-five deaths worldwide, and can largely be targeted by the same interventions. Moreover, bringing childhood healthcare closer to the homes of those most affected increases their access to quality prevention and care, which can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF’s Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) proposes a cohesive approach to ending preventable pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths.

Today, events commemorating World Pneumonia Day are being held in countries throughout the world. In India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan and South Africa, ministries of health and partners in child health, such as UNICEF, WHO, USAID, Jhpiego, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Malaria Consortium are organising various awareness raising activities, including panel discussions, press briefings, roundtables, lectures, and a parade.

Malaria Consortium produced radio and television programmes about pneumonia in Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan, and pharmaceutical company, GSK has developed a global “If Only You Pneu” video animation sharing children’s voices on pneumonia and its prevention. In the United States, IVAC also released its 2014 Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report today and the Gates Foundation pneumonia programme has announced increased funding this year for pneumonia prevention among neonates. WHO has just published new guidelines on indoor air quality and recently revised its classification and treatment of childhood pneumonia at health facilities to increase effective lifesaving interventions.

These worldwide events underline the global call by the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia. Strengthened commitment to reach every child with interventions that prevent and treat pneumonia is needed to reach the MDGs and must be sustained in the post-2015 development agenda. Increased investment in pneumonia interventions and a universal scale-up of those that are proven to work are crucial for populations most affected in order to defeat this killer disease.


World Pneumonia Day was established in 2009 to raise awareness about pneumonia; to promote interventions to protect against, prevent, and treat pneumonia; and to generate action in combatting pneumonia. For more information about World Pneumonia Day,facts and figures and activities, please visit

The Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia was established in 2009 to raise awareness about the toll of pneumonia, the world’s leading infectious killer of children, and to advocate for global action to protect against, to effectively treat and to help prevent this deadly illness. Including more than 140 non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, academic institutions, government agencies and foundations, the Coalition provides leadership for World Pneumonia Day, marked every year on November 12th.


Press Release Quote Sheet

Today Marks Sixth Annual World Pneumonia Day

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

“Combatting pneumonia is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to health and child survival, and to laying the groundwork for ending all preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030. We need a persistent and integrated approach to this preventable and treatable killer of children. I call on all sectors to come together now to defeat this disease.”

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health

“Tackling pneumonia requires an integrated approach to look at ways to prevent and protect children from developing pneumonia in the first place as well as ways to accurately diagnose and treat the infection when present. To prevent exposure to indoor air pollution is one of the key interventions. Young children, as well as women, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth, are particularly vulnerable. Globally, more than 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under 5 are linked to household air pollution.”

Mickey Chopra, UNICEF Chief of Health

“Pneumonia disproportionately afflicts the most marginalised and the poorest children, accounting for the deaths of almost 1 million children under five each year, according to UNICEF’s latest estimates. Finding new, inexpensive and reliable ways of diagnosing pneumonia in low-resource health facilities, and being innovative in the treatment of the disease, will be crucial in reaching the most vulnerable children, and ending child deaths from this preventable cause.”

Charles Nelson, CEO Malaria Consortium

“Malaria Consortium is excited to be convening World Pneumonia Day. Working with our partners in the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia we have chosen to focus this year’s theme around the need for increased access to prevention and care for pneumonia. We are fully committed to defeating the world’s number one infectious killer of children. Our projects fight the disease on multiple fronts: by providing better access to pneumonia diagnostic equipment, promoting the rational use of antibiotics and bringing healthcare closer to the homes of those who need it most. Children not only need more appropriate, but also much faster care. This approach is both lifesaving and cost saving for many of the poorest families throughout the world.”

Keith Klugman, Director of Pneumonia Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“No parent should lose a child to preventable diseases, yet nearly 1 million children die from pneumonia worldwide every year. Through the power of life-saving vaccines and other key interventions, the world is making real progress toward curbing the spread of pneumonia and we must continue this momentum to ensure children everywhere can live healthy and productive lives.”

Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance

“Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is working to accelerate the availability of vaccines which protect the world’s children against pneumonia, the leading infectious killer of under-fives. Since 2000, Gavi has helped immunise nearly 200 million children with pentavalent vaccine and more than 25 million with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), both of which protect against leading causes of pneumonia. We are committed to further expanding access to these vaccines as part of an integrated approach to pneumonia prevention and control.”

Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH

“More investment is needed in innovative diagnostic tools and integrative health services that combine care for other childhood illnesses, like diarrhoea, malnutrition, and malaria, to accelerate our progress in reducing preventable child deaths.”

Kate O’Brien, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Executive Director, International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC)

“We celebrate the progress in preventing pneumonia this World Pneumonia Day, while recognising the need to ensure ALL children have access to care and early diagnosis, vaccines, and medication. The devastating West African Ebola outbreak starkly highlights the gap between high- and low-income countries and inequities in systems that connect people with life-saving technologies, such as supply chains and availability of trained healthcare workers. The world’s attention is now focused on this great inequality. Let us learn from this and renew our commitment to close the access gap in pneumonia interventions and put an end to these preventable deaths.”

Allan Pamba, VP East Africa, GlaxoSmithKline, and co-chair of the UN Every Woman, Every Child Innovation Working Group

“Huge progress has been made against pneumonia, but with this infection still claiming almost one million children’s lives each year, there is much further to go. Nobody can fight pneumonia alone: frontline health workers, novel partnerships and radical innovation are all critical to delivering real change. So we are working with Gavi to deliver our pneumococcal vaccine to poorer countries. And with Save the Children, we have registered a child-friendly powder-based antibiotic to help fight pneumonia in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Private sector participation and contribution is rising and this should be encouraged.”