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Call for reducing child pneumonia renewed

GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Pneumonia takes the lives of about 1.6 million children age 5 and under each year worldwide, more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, Swiss officials say.

A Pneumonia Report Card released by the International Vaccine Access Center on behalf of the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia says urgent efforts are needed to prevent, protect against and treat pneumonia in children.

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A report issued by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2009 says up to two-thirds of child pneumonia deaths could be prevented if at least 90 percent of children had access to a few simple, effective pneumonia interventions.

Nearly three-quarters of all pneumonia deaths occur in 15 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda.

"Many of the most affected countries plan to introduce new pneumonia vaccines, are expanding community-based case management and have ambitious plans for strengthening health systems," Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says in a statement.

"I'm optimistic that the report will help focus efforts on improving coverage and saving millions of lives."

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