Wear blue jeans, spread word about pneumonia (Nov 2 is World Pneumonia Day)

October 31st, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) For the first time, World Pneumonia Day will be observed this Monday. To spread awareness about the single largest cause of death in children worldwide, netizens are urging everyone to observe it by wearing a pair of blue jeans.
With a pair of blue lungs as their logo, a group of individuals have created a profile on the social networking site Facebook and are urging people to join the several rallies that are to be organised Monday in support of pneumonia patients.

Explaining their campaign, the creators of the profile said: “This is simple. Children often turn blue when they have pneumonia. Wear blue jeans on World Pneumonia Day. Demonstrate that you care about the two million children under the age of five who will die in 2009 from pneumonia.”

The campaign has picked momentum with a number of people from across the globe signing up for it and pledging their support to the cause.

Lance Laifer, one of the supporters of the campaign, wrote: “Pneumonia kills so many thousands of children every year yet hardly anyone talks about it. Spreading awareness about it will definitely help people understand the symptoms of this curable disease, prevent it or get immediate medical help immediately.”

A coalition of over 50 child health organisations from across the world will observe the first World Pneumonia Day Monday. In India too a number of events are planned by NGOs and other organisations.

Nitin Shah, chairperson of the Indian version of Asian Strategic Alliance for Pneumococcal disease prevention (ASAP), said: “Pneumonia is largely preventable through vaccination. The main motive behind observing World Pneumonia Day is to aim to provide necessary medication to the world’s most vulnerable countries.”

India with 27 percent has the maximum penetration of the global pneumonia cases, followed by Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Africa and Asia record the highest number of pneumonia deaths.

“The health ministry should include pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which immunises children against pneumonia and other diseases. India cannot achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds unless we tackle pneumonia burden in the country,” Shah said.

According to the Global Coalition against Pneumonia two million children under five years of age die from pneumonia each year - more than from AIDS, measles and malaria combined.

Save the Children, an international NGO added that pneumonia is responsible for the deaths of 400,000 children in India annually.

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