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World Pneumonia Day

Pneumonia kills more than 800,000 children under the age of five each year, more than any other infectious disease

Our latest pneumonia report

Did you know?

96% of UK public don’t know pneumonia is the biggest child killer.

Pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with antibiotics costing just 20 pence if properly diagnosed.

Despite this, it still kills more children under five than any other infectious disease. 

Pneumonia claims the lives of over 800,000 children under the age of five each year. 

It leaves an estimated 4.2 million children under the age of five in 124 low- and middle-income countries with critically low oxygen levels.

The situation threatens to become even more serious as a result of the disruptions to health services caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Luc's Story - Democratic Republic of Congo


luc recovering from pneumonia drc

Luc* is 19 months old and has severe pneumonia.

Luc’s mother first started to worry when Luc developed vomiting and diarrhoea. After this he started coughing heavily and was struggling to breathe. For five days Luc’s mother treated him at home and at local centres. Although she was worried about him, she knew that she would struggle to pay for the hospital bills.

As Luc’s health continued to worsen, his mother had to take him to hospital, despite not knowing how she could pay the bills. By the time they arrived, Luc was comatose and Dr Emile was alarmed at how fast his breathing was and that his oxygen saturation was 7% lower than it should be.

The doctors immediately put Luke on Oxygen and gave him a blood transfusion. They also started a course of antibiotics. After a terrifying 24 hours in which the Luc continued to deteriorate, he began to respond to the medication.

Luc is now conscious and stable.

Our work in DRC

“These findings show pneumonia is a disease that affects the poorest children worst of all, wherever they are in the world. But while British children almost always survive, millions of children in poor countries are dying for want of vaccines, a few pence worth of antibiotics, and routine oxygen treatment. With such simple solutions, no child should have to die from pneumonia regardless of where they live.”

“This is a forgotten global epidemic that demands an urgent international response. The UK government must continue to invest in global efforts to tackle the pneumonia crisis so that children everywhere can access life-saving healthcare.”

Kevin Watkins, CEO Save the Children UK 

map of pneumonia countries

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graph of infectious diseases

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