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TNN | Nov 12, 2013, 12.56 AM IST
KANPUR: City based paediatrics advised parents to take extra care of their kids in winters to keep pneumonia at bay, on World Pneumonia day observed on November 12, every year. The experts also laid emphasis on strengthening immunity and resistance power to fight the killer disease.
Commenting on pneumonia deaths among children in India, Secretary, Academy of Paediatrics, Kanpur, Dr Vaibhav Bhall, informed that pneumonia, globally kills an estimated 1.4 million children every year under the age group of five years – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. It is alarming that India accounts for almost 25% of the world's pneumonia child deaths.
Recent reports of World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that a child dies every minute from pneumonia in the country. The respiratory disease is also taking its toll on more than two million children per year in India.
Dr Vaibhav advised parents to take extra precautions for kids under the age of 5 years with the on-set of winters and to consult doctors in case of prolong cough,cold or fever. "Pneumonia accounts for 30% deaths among children below 5 years, hence becoming the leading cause of death in this age group. Annually, India witnesses 45 million pneumonia cases among children under 5 years of which 0.37 million die due to pneumonia," said Dr Yashwant Rao, paediatric at Lala Lajpat Rai hospital.
He also informed that premature babies, babies in the age group of 24 to 59 days and malnourished kids are more prone to pneumonia.
Awareness on timely immunization and appropriate delivery of children in the country will also be helpful in reduce mortality rates due to vaccine preventable diseases like pneumonia.
The experts also laid emphasis that the government should introduce pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which immunizes children against pneumonia and other diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumonia.
Head of Department Paediatrics, Lala Lajpat Rai hospital, Dr RP Singh, said that other than known viral originated pneumonia, bacterial and fungal pneumonia are increasingly being reported at the hospital.
"The intermittent use of antibiotics is also harmful, as it weakens the immunity to fight the disease," he added.
Expert also blamed lack of hygiene and overcrowded living spaces for this disease. Urban slums and a general apathy towards cleanliness have worsened the situation.
He warned that parents must be cautious when children have fever that persists for more than two days or is acquired after returning from a holiday or after consuming food outside.
Dr Richa Giri, from medicine department of Lala Lajpat Rai hospital said that pneumonia is a common respiratory disease marking inflammation in the lung and it mainly affects the people with low immunity or resistance power.
"Diabetic persons, pregnant women, babies, children and elderly people are soft targets and efforts should be made to increase resistance to fight the disease," she added.