Pneumonia kills 24,000 plus children in Bangladesh every year

Around 18% of children – 24,300 – in Bangladesh die from pneumonia every year before turning five. But sensitivity around this disease is still low.

And only 5% of health facilities in the country have the preparedness to provide proper treatment for pneumonia.

Experts came up with the findings at a view exchange program organized by Research for Decision Makers (RDM) and Data for Impact (D4I) at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) ahead of World Pneumonia Day.

Also, the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017 found that only 42% of children aged less than 5 years with signs of lung infection were taken to a hospital or health facility and only 34% had received an antibiotic.

And 45% of the pneumonia-related deaths are occurring at health facilities, which strongly indicate the lack of readiness of the health facilities to provide appropriate treatment for childhood pneumonia, the survey revealed.

Professor Dr Samir Saha, executive director of Child Health Research Foundation, said: “For 50% of the pneumonia cases, causes are still unknown. And without this information, pneumonia cannot be prevented in the long run.”

Dr Md Jobayer Chishti, senior scientist at Hospitals Nutrition and Clinical Services Division of the icddr,b, focused on having pulse oximetry devices in hospitals and investing in low-cost local innovations.

He brought the example of a low-cost bubble CPAP machine that cut death by 75% during the trial.

Chishti also talked about malnutrition as it causes 15 times more death among pneumonia affected children.