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PATH is joining people around the world on November 12 for the second annual World Pneumonia Day to shine the global health spotlight on pneumonia—a disease whose status as the number one killer of children continues to remain largely overlooked. As a member of the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, PATH is doing our part to bring attention to the nearly 1.6 million children under five years that die each year from pneumonia, mostly in the developing world.

Highlighting the need for additional vaccines

PATH emphasizes vaccines as the most cost-effective way of preventing these deaths, particularly in the developing world where children are hardest hit. World Pneumonia Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the great strides currently licensed vaccines have made in the fight against pneumococcus—the leading cause of severe pneumonia—but also to acknowledge that these vaccines are difficult for low-resource countries to afford without substantial external assistance.

Additional vaccines that are low cost, broadly protective across the many strains of pneumococcus, and tailored to the developing-country context are urgently needed in parallel with existing vaccines so that low-income nations can protect their populations over the long term. By collaborating with public- and private-sector partners, PATH continues to advance the development of new pneumococcal vaccines that can be affordable and accessible for children in low-resource countries.

As part of the push for progress on World Pneumonia Day, PATH and our partners in the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia are urging President Obama, other policymakers, and global health leaders to provide support and resources for appropriate pneumonia prevention and treatment solutions that are within reach for all.

Spreading the word

To bring pneumonia into further focus, PATH is co-sponsoring a press event on World Pneumonia Day entitled “The Faces of Pneumonia” at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, DC from 10:00 am to 11:00 am (EST), and spreading the word through TwitterFacebook, and other outlets about ways to help in the pneumonia fight.

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Posted November 11, 2010.