Three-month old Suleka was admitted to the hospital with severe pneumonia, severe acute malnutrition and severe dehydration in Kenya. She had difficulty breathing, a high fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and weighing nine pounds under the weight a child her age should be. Her condition is now stabilised and she is responding well to treatment at a Save the Children supported hospital.
World Pneumonia Day: Monday, November 12, 2018
Pneumonia is the world’s leading infectious cause of death in children. Though the illness is preventable, nearly 1 million girls and boys die from pneumonia every year – more than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined.
Save the Children is working to develop programs that prevent and treat pneumonia in children worldwide. We actively support research and influence policy regarding the illness to help save young lives from this tragic – and largely overlooked – illness.
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Please join us in the fight against pneumonia. With your help, we can:
- Develop programs that protect, prevent and treat pneumonia in children worldwide.
- Support research and influence policy regarding pneumonia.
- Save countless young lives from a preventable disease.
Baby Suleka: Her Story of Survival
Save the Children met Halima and her tiny infant Suleka in a pediatric ward in Kenya. Suleka was wrapped in a printed scarf, with a feeding tube across her exposed cheek, and another tube in her hand for medication. At two months old, Suleka was only 4 pounds, and so sick she refused to nurse.
Underweight and fragile from birth, Sukela was little bigger than Halima’s hand. First she suffered with fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Then she started coughing and her breath was difficult and rapid – almost like she was panting – more than 65 breaths per minute. Her life was in danger. A deadly case of pneumonia had set in.
Halima brought her daughter to a Save the Children-supported community hospital in Kenya. There, Dr. Siyad was assigned to Suleka’s case; he’d recently participated in a training on diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia in children. “I felt frightened when I was told it was pneumonia, but I kept telling myself my baby will be ok,” said Halima. “The doctor reassured me, so I felt better.”
Suleka was treated with oxygen and IV antibiotics until she started responding. “She has improved, no fevers, no fast breathing, she’s not coughing, and the diarrhea stopped. So currently we’re just maintaining the fluids and antibiotics for one week,” reported Dr. Siyad. “This morning her breathing rate was down to 32 breaths per minute.”
Today, Suleka is further down the road to full recovery and has returned home to be with the rest of her family. Dr. Siyad and Save the Children continue their battle against pneumonia and won’t rest until we can save every last child.
“Save the Children has been here for a long time. They are doing very good work [and] assisting us in educating the community about pneumonia, malnutrition and others and by supplying medication,” said Dr. Siyad. “They doing a very good job in supporting us in terms of patient management, in terms of resources, and in terms of motivation and encouragement so that we can do our job very well. So we are very happy and we are very grateful.”
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