India continues to top the global pneumonia mortality charts, witnessing four lakh deaths of children every year.

This new report released by IVAC and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals that more than 99 per cent of all pneumonia deaths occurred in developing countries and 3/4 of it in 15 countries, among which India tops the list.

India tops in global pneumonia deaths of children under five years of age with 3.97 lakh reported in 2010, says a Unicef study.

The third annual International Vaccine Access Centre’s (IVAC) Pneumonia Progress Report 2012 says that almost 1,088 children under five years of age die everyday in India, an increase of 6.7 per cent from 2008 IVAC data which pegged the deaths at 3.71 lakh annually. Recent estimates from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) show that pneumonia continues to be the number one killer of children around the world — causing 18 per cent of all child mortality, an estimated 1.3 million child deaths in 2011 alone.

A modest yet consistent decline in the infant mortality rate, especially in six problematic states, is one of the key features of the latest data from the Sample Registration System.

Pakistan has become the first South Asian country to introduce a new against pneumonia.

There is a bad news: India may not be able to meet Millennium Development Goals for Women and Children’s health by the target year of 2015.

Being an Indian and below 5 years of age is a rather dangerous prospect right now. The odds seem to be piling up against Indian toddlers — a recent Unicef report has claimed that 16.55 lakh below-5 kids die each year in the nation, leading the world in child mortality.

According to the ‘Child Mortality Estimates Report 2012’, India’s under-five death toll is higher than the deaths in Nigeria, Congo and Pakistan put together. The killer diseases may be many — pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria figure as the top causes of death; but it all boils down to the nutrition of the mothers during pregnancy, and that given to the baby, say experts here.

Months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called malnourishment among children a national shame, the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD) has now written to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories asking them to get “serious about fighting malnourishment especially among the children and women”.

WCD secretary Prem Narain said: “We have issued written instructions on Tuesday to all senior officials concerned and various Ministries to ensure that they contribute positively in the fight against this great challenge that the country faces today.

As swine flu numbers went up to 267 last week in the city , figures show that the majority of the victims of the H1N1 virus are children, elderly citizens and pregnant women.

On August 4 alone, 17 positive cases were recorded and nearly 30 per cent of the patients were below 10 years. Records maintained by the BMC indicate that close to 22 per cent of the total number of cases detected are those of below 12 years and another 8 per cent are of above 60 years. Experts attribute this trend to the compromised immunity seen in such patients, particularly children.

The UNICEF in association with the Amala Institute of Medical Science will implement a model community action programme at Adattu panchayat in the district to improve child health. Millions of children die from preventable causes before reaching their fifth birthday, many of them during the first year of life, according to health statistics. It is estimated that seven out of 10 childhood deaths are from just five causes - pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition. This is when the capacity to prevent and treat these diseases exists.

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