Countries urged to end child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea

Countries are being urged by the UN to end child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea which together kill more than 1.4 million children every year.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report on the issue on the margins of the ongoing climate change talks, dubbed COP22, in Morocco.

Nearly half of all childhood pneumonia deaths are linked to air pollution, a fact world leaders should keep in mind during the conference, the agency says.

Pneumonia, an infection of the lung spread by direct contact, kills approximately one child every 35 seconds.

Last year, it claimed the lives of nearly a million children, more than malaria, tuberculosis, measles and AIDS combined.

Like pneumonia, diarrhoea cases among young people can often be linked to lower levels of precipitation caused by climate change.

The lack of safe water leaves children at greater risk of getting the disease.

Low- and lower-middle income countries account for more than 90 per cent of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths globally.

Both diseases are largely preventable through cost effective solutions like exclusive breastfeeding, vaccination, quality healthcare and reducing household air pollution.

SOURCE: Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

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