India has the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths among children in the world with nearly three lakh children dying in 2016, a new report released ahead of World Pneumonia Day on November 12 said.
The Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report for 2016 which was released by International Vaccine Access Centre(IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that the top five countries with highest global burden of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.
“The top 15 countries contributing to the global burden of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths were unchanged between 2015 and 2016. These 15 highest burden countries consist of India, Nigeria, Pakistan, DRC, Angola, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Chad, Afghanistan, Niger, China, Sudan, Bangladesh, Somalia, and United Republic of Tanzania,” it said.
The report said that only six of the highest-burden countries (Angola, Ethiopia, India, Niger, Sudan and Tanzania) have introduced rotavirus vaccines in their routine immunisation program to help prevent a substantial portion of diarrhoea deaths and hospitalisation.
India introduced rotavirus vaccines in four states in 2015, it said.
“Fifteen years after pneumococcal conjugate vaccines’ (PCV) first introduction globally in 2000 (the United States was first to implement the vaccine), five of the highest pneumonia burden countries (India, Indonesia, Chad, China and Somalia) are still not using the vaccine in their routine immunisation programs,” the report said.
The health ministry recently announced that the PCV that combats pneumonia, will be rolled out as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme in a phased manner in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Some progress has been made in combating pneumonia and diarrhoea among young children in the nations most severely impacted by the two diseases, the report found, but they remain responsible for hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths around the world.
In 2015, pneumonia and diarrhoea together led to one of every four deaths globally that occurred in children under five years old.