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Updated: November 3, 2009 14:53 IST

‘Half the funds to fight pneumonia to be spent on India, China’

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A view of the poster on 'Prevention and control of pneumonia' at a function in Chennai. File Photo: S.S. Kumar
The Hindu A view of the poster on 'Prevention and control of pneumonia' at a function in Chennai. File Photo: S.S. Kumar

Nearly half of the USD 39 billion that the United Nations estimates to incur as part of a global plan to fight pneumonia among children, will be spent on India and China, a UN official has said.

The programme, launched by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF yesterday on the occasion of the first World Pneumonia Day, aims to save more than five million children from dying of the disease by 2015.

One half of the costs expected to be incurred as part of the Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) are needed for scaling up interventions in China (USD 13 billion) and India (USD 7 billion), UNICEF Executive Director Ann M Veneman said.

The USD 39 billion cost include that of intervention programmes for breastfeeding, vaccinations and treatment in 68 high child-mortality countries.

It will be implemented by various UN agencies, NGOs and academic institutions that are also tasked with spreading awareness about pneumonia as a leading killer disease among children.

“Pneumonia is leading cause of under age five mortality, killing over 4,000 children every day. Effective interventions to reduce deaths caused by pneumonia must be used more widely and made more readily available for children at risk,” Veneman said.

Pneumonia is the biggest child killer worldwide with nearly two million children dying from the disease every year.

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