Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GSK calls attention to World Pneumonia Day

GSK has launched a new documentary, ‘Faces of Pneumonia’, to raise awareness of childhood pneumonia, the leading cause of death among children globally.

‘Faces of Pneumonia’ is part of GSK’s commitment to reduce the impact of this killer disease. The documentary features interviews with experts and patients across the developed and developing world to reveal the real-life cost of pneumonia and what can be done to improve prevention and treatment.

The documentary reinforces the need for education among parents, improvements in access to treatment and increased prevention including hygiene, clean water and vaccination. If identified early, pneumonia can be treated using antibiotics.  As such, the World Health Organization recommends vaccination to help protect children from pneumonia.

Lekan Asuni, General Manager, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical, Anglophone West Africa, said ‘’GSK is committed to help fight pneumonia worldwide and in Anglophone West Africa in particular, improving the level of awareness on the impact of the disease on our population is a critical step in winning the battle”.

World Pneumonia Day (12 November) was organised by the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia to encourage international efforts to combat the disease. 

Director of Alliances and Information, International Vaccine Access Centre, Lois Privor-Dumm, said “It's really important to get the word out about what can be done to prevent and treat pneumonia. It doesn't matter if you are in a relatively wealthy country or a remote region of Africa – the bottom line is that pneumonia is devastating, and that there are too many cases that could be treated, and too many deaths that could be prevented”.

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said “We need to do everything we can to ensure that children don't suffer needlessly, and vaccines are part of the most cost-effective solution."

GSK Global Medical Director Bernard Hoet, said “Much has been achieved in improving access to treatment and increasing prevention of childhood pneumonia, particularly through the work of the GAVI Alliance in developing countries. However, more needs to be done. We hope our documentary helps further raise awareness of the real-life impact pneumonia has across the globe. Even with recent improvements, at the current rate, the UN Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality worldwide by two-thirds by 2015 won’t be met [UN MILLENNIUM GOALS]. We need to take action.”

Professor Vesikari, Chief of Paediatric Infectious Disease, Tampere University Hospital, Finland, said “People are asking: why do we need to vaccinate against this or that disease? The question I would ask in reverse is why do we need to make our children suffer from a disease we can prevent?”

Pneumonia places a significant burden on patients, their families, healthcare professionals and society. Prevention through vaccination can reduce disability and death from disease; reduce pain, suffering, sleepless nights and loss of work days and income for parents due to the need to care for an ill child.

In the time it will take to watch ‘Faces of Pneumonia’, more than 35 children will have died needlessly from this disease. The fight against pneumonia can be won.