COVID-19 and childhood pneumonia

13 November, 2020

Extract below from a new Comment in The Lancet.

CITATION: Leveraging the COVID-19 response to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia

Henrietta H Fore, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus et al.

Published: November 11, 2020


Pneumonia is still the leading infectious cause of child deaths and claims more than 800 000 children's lives every year...

Although most children have less illness related to COVID-19 than adults, the potential secondary impacts of the pandemic could cause a reversal in progress in child survival. Roberton and colleagues used a model to estimate that, depending on the degree of severity, service disruptions, reductions in access to care because of lockdown measures, and increased rates of wasting due to food shortages over 12 months could cause between 506,900 and 2,313,900 additional deaths among children younger than 5 years.

The data suggest that about a third of these preventable deaths could be from pneumonia and newborn sepsis...

Distribution of pulse oximeters and oxygen equipment, together with additional support to front-line health-care services, offers an opportunity to close the gap in access to these essential diagnostic and treatment tools for hypoxaemia, which is often associated with childhood pneumonia deaths. The COVID-19 response is also an opportunity to invest in training of health-care staff to operate and maintain such equipment and safely administer oxygen to patients...

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,