Pneumonia accounts for 12% of all deaths in children under 5 in European Region

Mortality rates in children aged under 5 years have steadily declined in the WHO European Region in recent years, yet children are still dying from pneumonia.

These preventable deaths are happening because proven interventions that boost children’s natural defences and create a healthy environment, such as adequate nutrition, early and exclusive breastfeeding, vaccinations, hand-washing with soap, and low-emission cooking stoves, are not available to all.

 “Tackling pneumonia requires an integrated approach to look at ways to prevent and protect children from developing pneumonia in the first place as well as ways to accurately diagnose and treat the infection when present. To prevent exposure to indoor air pollution is one of the key interventions. Young children, as well as women, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth, are particularly vulnerable. Globally, more than 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under 5 are linked to household air pollution.” Says Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health.
Today, WHO releases new guidelines for indoor air quality on household-fuel combustion, setting for the first time emission targets to address the serious health risks from burning fuels.

Last year, WHO and UNICEF introduced the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), which proposes a cohesive approach to ending preventable pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths.

On World Pneumonia Day, 12 November, WHO and partners are calling for improvements in universal access to pneumonia prevention and care, in order to end preventable child deaths by 2030.