Fight Pneumonia, Save a Child. Second World Pneumonia Day, Bangladesh

Pneumonia is the leading killer of children under 5 claiming 1.5 million young lives every year, including 50,000 children in Bangladesh (that is 137 Bangladesh children every day); Breastfeeding provides a natural immune boost which helps to prevent pneumonia and other diseases. Breastfeeding promotion is possible in any community- no matter how poor or remote. Vaccines exist which can prevent the leading causes of pneumonia and the Government of Bangladesh is seeking support to introduce them in Bangladesh; In Bangladesh, only 30% of under-five children with suspected pneumonia are taken to an appropriate healthcare provider, resulting in needless deaths among children who are not treated correctly in time; No other interventions currently available have the potential to save children’s lives on the scale which could be reached through prevention and management of childhood pneumonia.

The influential Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) by WHO/UNICEF was officially launched on the first World Pneumonia Day in 2009. In 2010, World Pneumonia Day was observed in Bangladesh through a press briefing on November 11 and popular mobilization activities from November 12th onward. Building on the facts presented above, World Pneumonia Day Activities will again emphasize the three pillars in fighting childhood pneumonia: Breastfeeding, Vaccination and Treatment.

Second World Pneumonia Day offered an opportunity to raise awareness about pneumonia as the leading killer of children under age five, supporting behavior change, prevention and treatment services delivered by healthcare providers, as well as preventative and care-seeking behaviors by families with young children. in Bangladesh and globally first joined forces to launch the first World Pneumonia Day to provide an annual focal point for global pneumonia advocacy

In Bangladesh, CHRF observed this day associated with SAVE THE CHILDREN and other co partners around Dhaka city. All the partners and co partners established “Awareness Stations” to deliver key messages about pneumonia. Each “Awareness Station” used balloons to attract attention and provide visitors with a means to show their support for fighting pneumonia.

In the year of 2009, we observed first World Pneumonia Day to remind parents and healthcare providers to encourage families, healthcare providers and policy makers to support the fight against pneumonia. This includes promoting breastfeeding, making sure treatment is sought early and getting children vaccinated according to the government schedule.

In 2010, we used balloons to raise awareness about pneumonia. Balloons, which are full of air, symbolize lungs- the part of the body which is affected by pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs, which makes it difficult for a child to breath. The balloons are blue to symbolize the color of a lung when it is deprived of oxygen. To show the support, three balloons were provided to each person who came to awareness station, they tied these three balloons together. Each symbolizes one of the three pillars in fighting pneumonia: breastfeeding, vaccination and treatment. They kept these balloons with them all day and used them to help explain about pneumonia which is a leading killer of children, but one which can fight through breastfeeding promotion, vaccination and early and appropriate treatment.