India carries the highest burden of pneumonia and diarrheoa deaths in children, the latest report of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has said. Despite PM Narendra Modi announcing accelerated immunisation for children in August, the report places India at the top with regards to child deaths due to pneumonia and diarrheoa across the globe.
The report stated that India accounts for one out of five child deaths due to the two diseases. In 2015, a projected 2.97 lakh pneumonia and diarrheoa deaths are estimated in children aged less than five in the country.
Of the projected 5.9 million deaths of children (aged less than five) in 2015 across the world, pneumonia was the top killer at 16 per cent, while diarrheoa came second at 9 per cent share globally.
With the deadline to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target ending in 2015, the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) of John Hopkins Center, in its report, indicated that India had fallen short of the MDG targets of reducing under five-year-olds’ child mortality by two-thirds from 1990 till 2015. However, according to the report, it had succeeded in implementing Mission Indradhanush aimed at proving vaccination to children in high-burden states.
Data collected by the IVAC in 2014 showed that the coverage of Hib — Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine to prevent pneumonia — in India was only 20 per cent.
Worse, India was yet to take an official decision to introduce Pneumococcal Conjugate Caccine to prevent pneumonia even after 15 years of vaccine’s introduction, it said.
The study was conducted in 15 countries that have reported more cases of pneumonia and diarrheoa.