The combination of high child malnutrition and household air pollution, with low vaccine coverage, breastfeeding rates, female literacy and poor access to health services, exposes these children to higher risks. Focused national and international efforts to identify and close gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment in these countries could prevent nearly 6 million deaths by 2030.
With the support of leaders such as the wife of the President of Nigeria, Her Excellency Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, and the founder of the African Wellbeing Foundation, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, we launched the campaign at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
We then rolled out EBC in Northern Nigeria (one of the hardest-hit in terms of childhood pneumonia deaths), and utilized popular actors to record PSAs about treatment and prevention. These PSAs were broadcast widely on traditional and social media. The campaign had a large reach, including 3 million Twitter reactions and 875,000 Facebook responses. More importantly, it fostered an environment for significant policy and behavior changes including a large uptick in visits to health clinics for pneumonia. This campaign played a role in precipitating national policy change to enable local dispensaries to provide Amoxicillin, making the treatment for pneumonia accessible even in the most remote areas of Nigeria.
The Every Breath Counts Coalition is a first-of-its-kind private-public partnership to support ‘double-burden’ countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America that are struggling with heavy burdens of COVID-19 and child pneumonia deaths. In these countries, closing the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment can save the greatest number of lives – from both COVID-19 and pneumonia.
To help governments in these countries end pneumonia deaths by 2030, the Every Breath Counts Coalition provides support to close critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment. In some countries expanding pneumococcal vaccine coverage will be the top priority, while in others, improving access to proper diagnosis and treatment services with better tools like pulse oximetry and increased access to child-friendly antibiotics and oxygen will be key. Working more directly with mothers and families to improve breastfeeding rates, child nutrition, female literacy and to reduce household air pollution will boost progress across all countries.
The Access Challenge previously led the Advocacy and Communications Working Group for the Coalition: developing and executing advocacy programs that facilitate global and national resource mobilization, leadership and momentum building in combating child pneumonia. We designed EBC brand communications to ensure partner support and reputation building that position EBC as the leader in this cross-sector initiative in ending preventable child pneumonia deaths.
Today, EBC is continuing to work tirelessly to close the critical gaps in pneumonia prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and to support ‘double-burden’ countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America that are struggling with heavy burdens of COVID-19 and child pneumonia deaths. EBC also leads World Pneumonia Day each year on November 12th, a day that brings attention to pneumonia and other related respiratory infections.