Pneumonia claims more children lives than any other disease in the world. It is a preventable disease that takes more than 1.7 lives a year around the globe.
Many go as far as calling pneumonia the “forgotten killer” for it takes more lives than HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined and yet does not get the same attention. A large number of people believe that infectious diseases are almost eliminated. In poorer nations, these diseases haunt the every day lives of many families.
A vaccine that protects against the bacteria is readily available to those who can afford it in richer countries like the United States.
A new, much more affordable pneumonia vaccine that has the potential to save an estimated half million lives has been dispersed to 19 countries.
This pneumonia vaccine will be beneficial in many ways: not only does it prevent pneumococcal disease, the primary cause of pneumonia, but it will also protect against a certain form of meningitis and blood poisoning. It can also protect against 10 different strains of bacteria.
A few weeks ago, infants in Nicaragua have received this life-saving vaccine. Children in Kenya, Sierra Leon, Yemen, Honduras and Guyana will soon be receiving this vaccine sometime this year. Each vaccine costs $3.50.
The Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Alliance, the company behind this vaccine mission, hopes to one day reach more countries. This can only be accomplished once the funding is available. The Gavi Alliance is a global health partnership of several public and private companies and organizations. They predict that they will need about $800 million every year for the next five years to keep up to date with existing immunizations.
Immunizing children will not be an answer to all the problems but it will without a doubt be a way to create change, to make the world a healthier place for all.
Excited about the new vaccine development, Bill Gates commented, “It’s got to get done now otherwise we will lose the opportunity.”