Prelims level : International Policies & Schemes Mains level : GS-II Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
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Why in News?

  • World’s First Conference on Childhood Pneumonia was held in Barcelona (Spain)to make it part of the global health agenda.
  • It is an initiative of 9 leading health and children’s organisations including UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi among others.
  • The theme of the conference is ‘Fighting for Breath’.

About Pneumonia:

  • Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection of the lungs.
  • Despite being the biggest infectious killer of children, pneumonia remains a neglected disease both nationally and globally.Every 39 seconds, a child under-5 dies from it.


  • It doesn’t have one single cause – it can develop either from bacteria, viruses or fungi in the air.


  • Pneumonia caused by bacteria is easily preventable with vaccines. 3 doses of the primary vaccine (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to prevent it are recommended.
  • A new vaccine for one of the main viral causes of pneumonia is under development.
  • India is planning for the nationwide rollout of PCV under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).


  • Children whose immune systems are immature (i.e. New-Borns) or weakened – such as by undernourishment, or diseases like HIV – are more vulnerable to pneumonia.


  • Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through fluids, like blood during childbirth, or from contaminated surfaces.
  • The poorest children are most at risk because of high rates of malnutrition, low vaccine coverage and limited access to correct diagnosis and Timely Treatment.

Preventive Measures:

  • Almost all of the deaths from childhood pneumonia are preventable through vaccination, adequate nutrition, reducing risk factors like air pollution (which makes the lungs more vulnerable to infection), using good hygiene practices and treatable with low-cost antibiotics and oxygen,
  • Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of a child’s life can lead to a 23% reduction in pneumonia incidence. Infants who aren’t breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia.
  • Outdoor air pollution contributes to nearly 18% or nearly 1 in 5 pneumonia deaths among children under 5.
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