Pneumonia is a leading cause of preventable death in young children. It doesn't need to be this way. Together with supporters like you, we have the power to save 5 million lives.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is the #1 infectious cause of preventable child deaths, claiming the lives of more than 800,000 a year.

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that occurs when the lungs become inflamed from breathing in polluted air, like viruses, bacteria and other dangerous toxins. While pneumonia symptoms are similar to the common cold, it becomes life threatening when children are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and lack access to clean water, nutrient-rich diets and affordable healthcare.

For countless millions more children, pneumonia is a source of distress, suffering and debilitating long-term health problems. Newborn babies and children under age two are the most vulnerable of all, sometimes forced to fight for every gasping breath before even learning to walk or talk.

Despite our effort and progress, pneumonia continues to kill over 800,000 children under the age of 5[i] each year.

Why Combatting Pneumonia Matters

Every 39 seconds, a child dies from pneumonia.

Pneumonia matters because it is preventable and treatable, yet it remains the main source of infectious child mortality year over year. If diagnosed accurately and early, pneumonia treatment can be accomplished with a three-to-five day course of antibiotics costing just $0.40. However, this disease thrives in impoverished settings or areas without nearby medical resources.

Due to the lack of cost-effective pneumonia treatment and diagnosis, nearly all pneumonia-related deaths in children occur in developing countries. Save the Children is active in the countries where it’s most fatal to be a child with pneumonia. They include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Without proper healthcare, children under age five will continue to die.

When Is World Pneumonia Day?

This year, World Pneumonia Day falls on November 12, 2024. Since 2009, the world annually observes World Pneumonia Day on November 12 to promote the awareness, prevention and protection from the primary infectious cause of child preventable deaths.

Save the Children recognizes that the threat of pneumonia for marginalized children requires more attention and action than just one day. Save the Children is a leader when it comes to combatting pneumonia. Child survivors of pneumonia, like Suleka and Hakaroom, highlight our success and response in fragile communities.


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