World Pneumonia Day, held every year on November 12, is an opportunity to raise awareness and information about pneumonia at an international level; to promote prevention and treatment; and to undertake enough action to fight the illness. World Pneumonia Day is designed to create public awareness about pneumonia, encourage interventions for avoiding and treating pneumonia, and initiate perfect action plans to combat pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an acute infection that affects the lungs, making breathing difficult and limiting oxygen intake. Poor nutrition, lack of breastfeeding, exposure to indoor air pollution or passive smoke exposure, HIV infection, premature birth, overcrowding and poor living circumstances predispose a child to developing pneumonia.
Pneumonia is the also the commonest cause of infectious disease-related death in adults. In 2010, lower respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) ranked second only to ischaemic heart disease in terms of total burden of disease, accounting for the loss of 115 million disability-adjusted life years worldwide.
Pneumonia is the cause of death in nearly one in five children under 5 years worldwide. While pneumonia deaths in children under 5 years of age have fallen from 1.7 million cases to 1.3 million cases annually over the past decade, too many children die from pneumonia every year. Most of these deaths are preventable, and more than half of all deaths occur outside a health facility.
Pneumonia also impacts older children and adults, often in many low-income settings, the impact of HIV and exposures to tobacco smoke and air pollution). Pneumonia is a major reason for hospitalization and health care
utilization in all countries.
Most cases of pneumonia are avoidable and can be also treated well without any fear. For most patients effective management of severe pneumonia requires basic interventions — supplemental oxygen, prompt provision of appropriate antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Strategies to improve the delivery of these basic aspects of acute care in low-income countries, in particular, expanding oxygen provision, which is often inadequate, should be instantly prioritized. Vaccines can definitely prevent some forms of pneumonia, but the problem is that availability of such vaccines is quite restricted in many countries.