Acute respiratory infections like pneumonia are the leading cause of death worldwide in children under the age of five, killing an estimated 1.3 million children in 2011 alone. That’s more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined! The good news is that pneumonia is preventable and treatable.
Check out our factsheet, “WASH and Pneumonia,” for the latest news on the linkages between the two.
Investments in preventing, treating, and protecting young children against the two leading killers – pneumonia and diarrhea – have contributed to significant declines in child mortality over the last decade. Yet there is much more to be done. Due to the clear links between water and sanitation, it makes sense to address pneumonia and diarrhea together. Using integrated measures to tackle them will save lives and help achieve Millennium Development Goal 4. Investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are essential to addressing both diseases.
One of the most effective and inexpensive WASH interventions? Handwashing with soap. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia by 25%. Because hands are the principal carriers of disease-causing germs, washing them with soap at critical times (i.e., after using a toilet, cleaning a child’s bottom, and before handling food) reduces rates of pneumonia. The majority of households have soap – it’s just used more for laundry and cleaning than handwashing. Many organizations are working to promote the practice, change behavior, and save lives.
WASH Advocates is excited to support World Pneumonia Day on November 12 to highlight the linkages between WASH and pneumonia as well as diarrhea. Interested in getting involved? From the World Pneumonia Day website, below are a number of activities you can do:
- Twitter: Follow @NoMorePneumo and RT us! Don’t forget to use the #WPD2012 hashtag
- Twitter Calendar: This coordinated effort will ensure that the social media messaging is consistent
- Twibbon: Overlay your Twitter profile picture with a World Pneumonia Day Twibbon
- Facebook: Become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/preventpneumonia and share our posts
- Facebook Cover Images: Get the set of images and change your profile/page cover to support World Pneumonia Day!
- Quotables / Social Media Images: Share these images with your networks and help us spread the word that we need to do more in the important fight against childhood pneumonia!
- Animated infographic: View and share our great pneumonia infographic with your friends and followers
- WPD Countdown Timer: Embed this countdown clock on your website to let your visitors know about World Pneumonia Day
- World Pneumonia Day Logos – Official images from the Coalition.
- World Pneumonia Day Sticker/Button – Print, share and wear it proudly!
- World Pneumonia Day Banner – The bigger the better!
- 5 Things You Can Do
- 2012 World Pneumonia Day Key Messages | (French version)
- Global Pneumonia Factsheet | (French version)
- Pneumonia Facts and Figures: Protect, Prevent, Treat | (French version)
- How to write a letter to the editor | (French version)
- Sample letter to the editor
- Event planning checklist | (French version)
- Staging a successful media event | (French version)
- Photography consent form | (French version)
- Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed
- The UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities
- Infographic: Joint Approaches to Tackling Pneumonia & Diarrhea
- Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) (UNICEF and WHO)
- Pneumonia and Diarrhea: Tackling the deadliest diseases for the world’s poorest children (UNICEF)
- 2011 World Pneumonia Day Infographic (PDF)
- Combining forces in Cambodia to overcome childhood diarrhea and pneumonia (via DefeatDD)
- ChildHealthNow’s Global Week of Action – Supporter Pack
Rebecca Fishman is the Operations and Special Projects Director at WASH Advocates. She focuses on the intersection of WASH, health, and gender.