Despite the great potential of pneumococcal vaccine, child pneumonia will remain a major threat to children under 5 years of age, unless a comprehensive approach is taken, according to the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), says a press release.
Pneumococcal vaccine is an important intervention that is already in use. But pneumonia is caused by a wide range of pathogens which is one of the challenges. In low- and middle-income countries, where 99% of the 1.5 million deaths from child pneumonia occur each year, a variety of other factors also contribute to high case fatality rates.
To more fully address child pneumonia in all settings, The Union therefore recommends a balanced and comprehensive approach that emphasises other preventive strategies, as well as vaccine: nutrition and breastfeeding, reduction in indoor air pollution, hand washing and improved case management.
Curative interventions include addressing the rising rates of bacterial resistance; models of community care; the role of zinc; focus on the needs of high-risk patients, such as those who are malnourished and infants; as well as wider availability of oxygen therapy and other methods of respiratory support.