Ethiopia to give 10 million children pneumonia vaccine


Posted on August 11, 2011 14:40

Ethiopia is preparing to vaccinate more than 10 million children against pneumonia, the leading cause of death in children worldwide.

The vaccination programme is expected to save the lives of at least 50000 children aged five and below each year.

The pneumonia vaccine, ordered from abroad, will cost the country around US$ 10 million and will be funded by the government and its health partners.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health said the first vaccination programme will start next week with targeting about one million children.

A national vaccination campaign for more than 10 million children under five years of age is due to start next month throughout the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia kills an estimated 1.6 million children every year.

The deaths are more than those attributed to AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Around 98 per cent of the cases are in developing countries, mainly in Africa.

Keseteberhan Admasu, the Ethiopian State Minister of Health said the vaccination will help the country to minimise child mortality.

He said that vaccination programme will be carried out with health extension workers, estimated to be over 30,000.

“This vaccine will help us to reduce the death of 50,000 children per annum,” Admasu said.

“The vaccine will be given to the children with other vaccines.”

Ethiopia will be the fifth African country to start the vaccination against pneumonia.

Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi and can be prevented by immunisation, adequate nutrition and by addressing environmental factors.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but less than 20% of children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need.

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