London, 12 November 2018 – On this year’s World Pneumonia Day, Malaria Consortium is calling on the international community to increase its support for innovation as it tackles the world’s biggest infectious killer of children under the age of 5.
Pneumonia kills 921,000 children under five every year, and 60% of these deaths occur in just 10 countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria Consortium is an NGO tackling pneumonia in these regions, and we are constantly looking for innovative ways to treat patients and save lives. Wider use of respiratory rate timers for pneumonia and user-friendly pulse oximetry devices are expected to contribute to improved, more accurate diagnosis and classification of pneumonia. This should lead to improved treatment and better health outcomes of children under five globally.
Malaria Consortium has been one of the leading implementers of community-based primary healthcare programmes involving pneumonia diagnostic aids and treatment for more than a decade. We specialise in testing new diagnostics aids which support health workers to diagnose pneumonia correctly within communities.
We are currently running studies in Ethiopia and Nepal to test if new automated respiratory rate (RR) counting aids can help community health workers to diagnose fast breathing in children with cough or difficulty breathing. Without these automated devices the health workers have to count manually or use basic timers, and this often leads to inaccurate diagnosis and incorrect treatment.
“We have shown from our previous study that health workers struggle to count respiratory rate and this can often lead to misdiagnosis and treatment of pneumonia at the community level,” says Kevin Baker, pneumonia diagnostics programme coordinator at Malaria Consortium. “Automated devices should make it easier for health workers to count RR correctly and we look forward to sharing the results from our recent studies once data collection has finished at the end of the year.”
We are calling on the international community to join Malaria Consortium as we seek to end preventable child deaths. Through community-based approaches and innovative solutions, we believe that pneumonia can be beaten.
Watch our World Pneumonia Day video here.
Read more about our work here: https://www.malariaconsortium.org/