Pneumonia will kill almost 11 million children by the age of five by 2030, experts warned on Monday a world day in order to raise awareness of the largest infectious killer of children around the world.
While in a more developed world a serious lung infection is mainly affected by elderly people, in developing countries children who have been carrying the substance, hundreds of thousands die every year from a disease that can be easily prevented.
More than 880,000 children – mostly less than two years of age – died of lungs only in 2016.
A new analysis by the Johns Hopkins University and the Save the Children Help Group, which is based on current trends, has shown that more than 10,800,000 patients will be susceptible to disease by the end of the next decade.
Moreover, several countries will bear the greatest burden, with 1.7 million children die in Nigeria and India, 700,000 in Pakistan and 635,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
And yet there are good news.
A study published on World Lung Day has found that increasing the current coverage of vaccination, along with cheap antibiotics and ensuring good nutrition for children, can save a total of 4.1 million lives.
Pneumonia, an inflammatory lung infection that can be contracted through a viral or bacterial infection, can be treated if it is sufficiently early caught and the patient's immune system is not compromised.
But across the world, it strikes small children who are often weak due to malnutrition, and annually kill more newborns than a combination of malaria, diarrhea, and exorbitancy.
"Probing the belief that nearly a million children die every year from a disease in which we have the knowledge and resources to defeat," said Save the Children CEO Kevin Watkins.
"There are no pink ribbons, world peaks or lung inflammation marshes, but anyone who cares about justice for children and their access to basic health care, this forgotten killer should be the main reason of our time."
The Vatkins group, which operates in healthcare programs in some of the countries that have been most affected by the disease, has demanded that the prices of larger existing vaccines against pneumonia drop dramatically.
2030 is the target date for the United Nations sustainable development goals, which includes the commitment to "end the prevention of child deaths" by the end of the next decade. AFP.