On this World Pneumonia Day, Malaria Consortium is proud to announce a new project in the fight against one of the leading causes of child mortality: pneumonia
London, 12 November 2016 - Malaria Consortium is working with UNICEF’s Acute Respiratory Infection Diagnostic Aid (ARIDA) project, in partnership with “la Caixa” Foundation, to introduce new diagnostic aids to improve diagnosis of pneumonia in Ethiopia. Pneumonia is still the largest infectious killer of children under five years, taking more lives than malaria, TB, and HIV combined. Pneumonia related deaths are particularly prevalent in Asia, South America and sub-Saharan Africa, with many pneumonia deaths resulting from late care or inappropriate treatment due to misdiagnosis of symptoms.
The ARIDA project will evaluate these new diagnostic aids for pneumonia, and ensure they are acceptable to both health workers and caregivers of sick children. At present, pneumonia diagnosis is largely presumptive or is made by counting the respiratory rates in children with a cough or difficulty breathing. However, counting respiratory rate is a difficult exercise even for trained health workers and misclassification of an observed rate is common, leading to incorrect diagnosis and consequently inappropriate treatment.
Malaria Consortium and UNICEF will evaluate the first of the ARIDA products in Ethiopia, in the hands of frontline health workers, and assess its potential for scale-up. “If what we have learned from previous studies showed us anything, it is the difficulty of counting respiratory rates and the urgent need for user-friendly devices. We need to urge technological innovators to continue developing diagnostic tools for the millions of health workers who count respiratory rates every day,” said Dr Karin Kallander, Senior Research Adviser at Malaria Consortium. “ARIDA will make the job of health workers diagnosing pneumonia easier, reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics and help to save many children’s lives”.
The ARIDA project supports UNICEF and Malaria Consortium’s commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, as well their commitment to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages. Today, World Pneumonia Day, is an opportunity to promote awareness about effective pneumonia treatment and build further support for the ARIDA project and evidence based sustainable solutions.