Stopping pneumonia from being a major child killer stressed


DHAKA, Feb 21, 2020 (BSS)–Despite the country’s notable
advancement in child mortality rate, silent killer pneumonia
still haunts the people, particularly the low-income groups,
with apprehensions of creating havoc in one’s family.

This became true for a couple when they faced an ordeal with
their two and a half years old baby Nadia, who was diagnosed
with pneumonia. Initially, the baby was suffering from fever,
cold and breathing problems for a few days. Medications could
not bring recovery for the afflicting infant.

As Nadia’s condition deteriorated after five days, her parents
took her to a pediatrician, who after making medical check-up,
diagnosed Nadia with pneumonia.

As per the advice of the doctor, Sadia and Anowar, parents of
Nadia, got her admitted to a hospital immediately. They broke
into tears when they heard that Nadia’s condition was

This is one among thousands of similar cases of pneumonia-
affected children. According to a survey, pneumonia kills more
than one in ten under five year children in Bangladesh, posing
as one of the leading killer diseases.

Bangladesh committed to reach global targets of reducing child
pneumonia to 3 pneumonia deaths per 1000 live births,
according to a report recently released by Save the Children
and Johns Hopkins University.

The report highlighted that more collaborative efforts to
fight pneumonia could avert nearly 140,000 child deaths from
pneumonia and other related diseases in Bangladesh over the
next ten years.

Dhaka Shishu Hospital Dr Saidur Rahman said pneumonia is
caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children
fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid.
More children under the age of five died from the disease in
2018 than from any other, he added.

He said the disease can be prevented with vaccines, and easily
treated with low-cost antibiotics if properly diagnosed.
Children with severe cases of pneumonia may also require
oxygen treatment, which is rarely available in the poorest
countries to the children who need it, the doctor added.

In Bangladesh, pneumonia claimed the lives of more than 12,000
children under five, which is more than 1 child every hour.
Thirteen percent of child deaths were due to pneumonia in

“Bangladesh is committed to reduce children dying from
pneumonia to reach global targets of 3 pneumonia deaths per
1000 live births by 2025,” said Shamsul Haque, as he
participated as a panelist in the national government
perspectives session in the pneumonia global forum in
Barcelona held recently.

He said “We have an aim to develop a National Pneumonia
Prevention and Control Strategy to ensure quality equitable
access to primary healthcare and contributing towards
achieving Universal Health Coverage.”

Save the Children appreciates the government’s efforts in
improving exclusive breastfeeding rate and reducing
malnutrition rate in the country, he added.

Dr Saidur said most deaths from pneumonia can be averted by
ensuring high coverage of pneumonia vaccines, timely treatment
of pneumonia at the community level and appropriate infant and
young children feeding.

The importance of promoting the rights and wellbeing of every
child underscores giving due attention to stopping pneumonia
from being a major child killer.

A comprehensive campaign is necessitated to raise awareness
among all irrespective of class for adequate policies for
pneumonia interventions.