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Meetings in Geneva seek to address challenges in the detection of the symptoms of pneumonia

21 July 2014

Recently, Malaria Consortium hosted a series of meetings in Geneva, bringing together global experts in child health, community case management, and diagnostics. During the meetings, the experts discussed the current global situation in relation to pneumonia, the current diagnostic tools being used at the community level and the possibilities for their improvement in the future.

Many pneumonia deaths result from late care-seeking and inappropriate treatment due to misdiagnosis of symptoms. Malaria Consortium’s pneumonia diagnostics project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to evaluate diagnostic tools across four countries – Cambodia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. The meetings in Geneva aimed to evaluate the efficacy of each device by drawing on a wide spectrum of expertise.

Speakers from a range of organisations, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization, gave presentations at the event. Key highlights included:

  • Dr Shamim Qazi, Medical Officer at the World Health Organization - Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health; and Dr Wilson Were, World Health Organization - Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health. Dr Qazi and Dr Were gave an overview of the worldwide pneumonia burden and spoke about current WHO/UNICEF management strategies in both integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) and integrated community case management (iCCM) contexts. They addressed some of the main challenges associated with diagnosing pneumonia and recommended methods to overcome key obstacles. Download the presentation here.
  • Jim Black, Associate Professor in Global Health, University of Melbourne. Professor Jim Black addressed the role of pulse oximetry in the management of sick children. He provided recommendations on how oximetry can be used as one of the main steps of assessment. Download the presentation here.
  • Helene Möller, Head of the Health Technology Centre, UNICEF Supply Division. Helene Möller provided an overview of the Supply Division’s role within UNICEF, relating its role to the realisation of organisation-wide goals and objectives. She spoke about the importance of pneumonia diagnosis and gave a historical account of the UNICEF ARI timer, which is currently the most widely-used diagnostic tool for pneumonia. She also described the role that pulse oximetry can play in the detection of the symptoms of severe pneumonia. Download the presentation here.

Karin Kallander and Kevin Baker presented on Malaria Consortium’s role in community case management and its continued commitment to it through the Pneumonia Diagnostics project. Their presentation went on to outline the details of the multi-country project which aims to identify the most accurate, acceptable, scalable and user-friendly respiratory rate timers and pulse oximeters for the diagnosis of pneumonia symptoms. Initial findings from the first stage of the project were also shared, highlighting the current constraints experienced by community health workers in detecting the symptoms of pneumonia. You can learn more about the project by downloading the presentation or by visiting our pneumonia diagnostics project page.

You can see the other presentations from the event here:

Keywords: Community delivery | Diagnosis | Digital strategies | Maternal, neonatal and child health | Advocacy and policy

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