World Pneumonia Day, observed annually on November 12th, serves as a global initiative to raise awareness and educate individuals on combating pneumonia, the leading infectious killer of adults and children worldwide.

The primary focus is on fostering global action, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where pneumonia has a significant impact on child mortality.

Pneumonia, an inflammatory respiratory condition that affects the air sacs (Alveoli) in the lungs, is still a significant obstacle.

Its contagious nature, especially detrimental to individuals with weakened immunity, makes it a major cause of concern, particularly among children and the elderly.

Despite pneumonia being a preventable and treatable infectious disease, the death toll has surged. In 2019, the global count reached 2.5 million, with seven hundred thousand children under five succumbing to pneumonia.

The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak further exacerbated the situation, causing an additional 600,000 deaths from respiratory infectious diseases in 2021.

World Pneumonia Day, crucial in addressing the risk of respiratory infections, brings together public and private entities.

It encourages collaborative efforts to organize campaigns, promote preventive measures, ensure universal access to vaccinations, and provide facilities.

The 2023 theme, “Every Breath Counts: Stop Pneumonia in Its Track,” underscores the urgency of early detection, treatment, and prevention.

First observed in 2009 under the “Stop Pneumonia” initiatives by the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia, World Pneumonia Day has garnered global support.

Governments and private organizations, recognizing the need for improved policies and campaigns, have worked collaboratively, especially in regions where children face malnutrition and respiratory infections.

The Every Breath Counts Coalition, established in 2017, is a significant public-private partnership dedicated to supporting low- and middle-income countries in combating pneumonia and respiratory infections.

UN agencies like WHO and UNICEF, along with international NGOs and various institutions, collaborate to provide awareness campaigns, healthcare support, and improved healthcare policies.

This collective effort aims to bridge gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually.

Aligned with the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), the coalition focuses on reducing pneumonia-related child mortality and addressing the causes of respiratory infections in impoverished countries.

Strategies to prevent pneumonia in children involve a holistic approach, including immunization, adequate nutrition through exclusive breastfeeding, and addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution.

For children with HIV, daily administration of the antibiotic cotrimoxazole decreases the risk of pneumonia.

Several countries, including Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, have developed comprehensive plans to intensify actions for pneumonia and diarrhea control.

The integration of specific actions for diarrhea and pneumonia into national child health and survival strategies is evident across many nations.

Effective diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia are critical components for improving child survival, aligning with the urgent priority of ending preventable deaths related to diarrhea and pneumonia.

This mission is integral to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal targets for reducing child mortality (SDG 3.2.1) and ensuring a healthier global community.