10 November 2023

Pneumonia in children: Everything you need to know

Many people associate pneumonia with the elderly, but it is actually the biggest infectious killer of children worldwide. Every year, it claims the lives of more than 725,000 children under the age of 5, including around 190,000 newborns, who are particularly vulnerable to infection.  Every day, at least one child dies every 43 seconds from…, What causes pneumonia?, Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection of the lungs. It doesn’t have one single cause – it can develop from either bacteria, viruses or fungi in the air. When a child is infected, their lungs are filled with fluid and it becomes difficult to breathe. Children whose immune systems are immature (i.e. newborns) or weakened – such as by…, What are pneumonia symptoms?, As pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, the most common symptoms are coughing, trouble breathing and fever. Children with pneumonia usually experience fast breathing, or their lower chest may draw in or retract when they inhale (in a healthy person, the chest expands during inhalation)., Is pneumonia contagious?, Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through airborne particles (a cough or sneeze). It can also be spread through other fluids, like blood during childbirth, or from contaminated surfaces., How is pneumonia diagnosed in children?, Health workers can diagnose pneumonia through a physical exam, including checking for abnormal breathing patterns and listening to the child’s lungs. Sometimes they may use chest x-rays or blood tests for diagnosis. In countries without strong health care systems (i.e. few doctors, lack of access to chest x-rays and laboratories), health workers…, What are pneumonia treatments?, The treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia. In developing countries, a large number of pneumonia cases is caused by bacteria and can be treated with low cost antibiotics. Yet many children with pneumonia do not receive the antibiotics they need because they lack access to quality health care. Other causes of pneumonia are viruses…, What role can oxygen play in pneumonia treatment?  , Oxygen is an essential and life-saving treatment for children and newborns suffering from severe pneumonia. That’s because the inflammation of their lungs prevents enough oxygen from entering their bloodstream.  Access to oxygen has for a long time been unavailable to those who need it. In many countries without strong health systems, oxygen is…, What can be done to prevent pneumonia?, Pneumonia can be prevented in the first place by increasing protective measures, such as adequate nutrition, and by reducing risk factors like air pollution (which makes the lungs more vulnerable to infection) and using good hygiene practices. Studies have shown that improved handwashing with soap reduces the risk of pneumonia by lowering exposure…, Is there a pneumonia vaccine?, Pneumonia caused by bacteria is easily preventable with vaccines. However, 40 per cent of children around the world are not fully protected with the primary vaccine to prevent pneumonia – the Pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine. In addition, other vaccines such as Diphteria-Tetanus-Pertussis and measles-containing vaccines and Hemophilus Influenza B (Hib)…, Where are the most children dying from pneumonia?, The countries with the largest number of child pneumonia deaths are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Child deaths from pneumonia are concentrated in the world’s poorest countries. Within these countries, it is the most deprived and marginalized children who suffer the most. They often have limited or no access to basic health services…, How does air pollution factor into pneumonia?, Air pollution can significantly increase the risk of respiratory infection, including pneumonia. Almost half of all pneumonia deaths are attributable to air pollution.   The climate crisis is a child rights crisis and poses a serious threat to children’s health and well-being. Outdoor air pollution is a risk to children, especially with growing…, How big a factor is malnutrition in pneumonia related deaths?   , Wasting is the leading risk factor for deaths from pneumonia among children. It’s the most visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition. When a child is too thin and their immune systems are weak, they’re far more vulnerable to diseases like pneumonia. Wasting tends to occur very early in life and disproportionately impacts children under 2…, What is needed to stop pneumonia? , Swift action is required to ensure that no child dies from pneumonia and other preventable or treatable diseases.   That response requires reducing risk factors, protecting children’s immune system and ensuring access to good-quality health care, free at the point of use, with well trained and equipped health workers to all children. Preventing…
02 November 2023

Fighting polio vaccine misinformation

Since 1988, the number of children affected by polio has reduced by 99 per cent. While the end of polio is within reach, immunization efforts can easily be derailed by the rapid spread of vaccine misinformation, putting vulnerable children at risk.  Take for example Pakistan, one of just two countries where polio remains endemic, where fake videos…, The polio ‘listening post’, “Social listening is like a disease surveillance system, but instead of the virus, we track and analyze polio misinformation. Using cutting-edge digital media and tools we collect and analyze publicly available data on polio and vaccines across social media, digital media, broadcast news and print media platforms,” says Adnan Shahzad, the Digital…, Clear and accurate messaging, “What we say must be accurate and easy to understand for everyone,” says Soterine Tsanga, Polio Outbreak Response SBC specialist with UNICEF, who is also involved in the roll out of DCE to countries. “When there’s a polio outbreak, our goal is to respond swiftly to reach children with vaccination and stop further spread of the virus. We cannot…, Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF A photo of a mother holding her baby paired with text stating that vaccinations are the best way to fight polio. Polio vaccination messaging - Digital Community Engagement, Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF Graphic showing a smiling child next to text accurate messaging on polio Digital Community Engagement social media graphic - Polio paralysis, Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF A graphic shows a young girl in a yellow shit next to positive messaging on polio. Digital Community Engagement social media graphic - Polio WHO, Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF A polio awareness graphic showing facts, cartoon droplets, and a photo of a young child. Polio vaccination social campaign content. UNICEF, Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF A green cut-out style graphic showing a photo of a child receiving a vaccination alongside accurate information about vaccine safety. Polio vaccine information social graphic DCE, UNICEF., Examples of accurate polio vaccine messaging created for digital sharing., UNICEF A graphic shows a photo of a child next to text that states the benefits of vaccination. A photo of a mother holding her baby paired with text stating that vaccinations are the best way to fight polio. Graphic showing a smiling child next to text accurate messaging on polio A graphic shows a young girl in a yellow shit next to positive…, Digital volunteers quash rumours, Mariama, a digital social mobilizer in Dakar, looks at her phone and laptop screens. Mariama, a 20 years old digital social mobilizer working with UNICEF in Dakar, shares polio information, tracks misinformation, and responds to questions about polio. A big part of UNICEF’s social behaviour change work for polio eradication involves engaging local…, Local outreach and digital engagement, Digital Community Engagement enables countries to bridge the gap between their on-the-groundwork and digital communities, while fostering trust in childhood immunization. Pakistan’s polio eradication programme has managed several misinformation crises. In October 2022, a Facebook post falsely claimed that a child had died after receiving the polio…, More opportunities ahead, While there has been tremendous progress in getting the social listening and misinformation alert systems up and running, there is always more to do. DCE is now focused on strengthening local misinformation response teams while continuing to engage online communities through digital volunteers.  For Gulzar Ahmed Khan, a 28-year-old polio social…
22 August 2023


Overview  |  What we do What we do  |  Reports and resources Reports  |  Data and insights Data  |  News and features News Vaccines are among the greatest advances in global health and development. For over two centuries, they've safely reduced the scourge of diseases like polio, measles and smallpox, helping children grow up happy and healthy. …, What we do, A young boy with his head tilted back and an open mouth is waiting for the polio vaccine to be dropped into his mouth. Together with partners, UNICEF reaches almost half the world’s children with life-saving vaccines each year. In over 100 countries, we work with governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and other United Nations (UN…, Our focus areas, Reaching those most in need, Many of the world’s unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children live in countries affected by conflict and instability. UNICEF works with partners to establish, maintain and improve the cold chain for vaccines and other essential medical supplies, and to put health teams torn apart by conflict back in place. No matter how challenging or remote the…, The supply chain, From procurement to storage, distribution to waste management, UNICEF works across the vaccine supply chain to strengthen systems, build capacity and support innovation.  We strengthen immunization services by providing governments with technical assistance, policy development, guidance and operational support.  UNICEF also helps countries manage…, Vaccine procurement and supply, As one of the world’s largest buyers of vaccines and other life-saving supplies, UNICEF has unique leverage to negotiate the lowest prices. Buying big and being transparent enables us to shape markets, cut costs and increase efficiency – saving more lives. UNICEF's market-shaping efforts have even contributed to the relative stability, and in some…, Technology and innovation, Working with private and public partners, UNICEF steers investment towards new vaccines and technologies – including diagnostic and health technologies, solar technology and digital platforms. We strive to scale up the most appropriate tech to expand the reach of immunization programmes., Disease eradication and elimination, Thanks to continuous work in immunization, the world is close to Eradicating Polio eradicating polio . Vaccination against measles, rubella and tetanus are also bringing us towards the elimination of these diseases in most geographic areas. But the recent backslide of vaccination rates has put more children at risk of preventable diseases. UNICEF…, Environmental sustainability, UNICEF promotes initiatives that optimize waste management and use environmentally friendly products. For example, we support the replacement of absorption fridges with solar technology to strengthen sustainability along the cold chain., Demand for immunization, UNICEF aims to reduce the spread of misinformation and ensure that families have access to accurate data on immunization so they can make the best decisions for their children. We engage communities in designing, delivering and assessing vaccination efforts – starting by listening. Our teams work directly with parents to understand their fears and…, Immunization planning, budgeting and financing, UNICEF works to ensure that vaccines and immunization services are adequately financed by governments and donors, with fully executed and transparent budgets. In collaboration with key partners, our teams also conduct studies and evaluations, and offer direct technical support to immunization programmes globally. Learn more, Reports, Data and insights, data icon Our data research icon Our research innovation icon Our insights, Latest
17 July 2023

Community health workers in Brazil work tirelessly to reach children who missed out on vaccines

Nurse preparing a vaccine UNICEF/U.S. CDC/UNI408803/Hiller Whenever Dynnhyfer de Souza helps to protect the health of a child, it has a profound impact on her. “I get emotional when people line up to be vaccinated by me,” says the nursing technician who lives in the Brazilian city of Baturité, Ceará. “They say I have a light hand, which is very…, On average, across different routine vaccines, Brazil is bouncing back and recovering, The situation in Brazil reflects some of the trends that we’re seeing globally when it comes to making sure that children are protected from potentially deadly diseases with the routine immunizations they need to live healthy lives.   New data from UNICEF and WHO reveals that after the largest sustained decline in routine immunization in a…, Reaching children in the city that’s the gateway to the Amazon rainforest, The latest global data reveals that during 2022 there were some positive trends, including a 2.5 million reduction in the number of zero-dose children worldwide. A zero-dose child is one that has not received a single dose of a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine. But the reality is that about one in five children are still zero-dose or under-…, Hard-to-reach riverside communities in Abaetetuba are getting access to essential health care services, The Active Vaccination Search initiative has also been operating in the municipality of Abaetetuba, in northern Brazil, which is formed by 72 islands.  A ferry boat full of passengers on the river. UN0846719, The team is carrying out a 16-day mission serving the medical and vaccination needs of people living in riverine communities., UNICEF/U.S. CDC/ UN0846719/Hiller Community Health Agent Dene Maria Rodrigues André, a resident of the community of Caripetuba River, arrives by boat at the Basic River Health Unit to support the vaccination of the population in Abaetetuba, Pará state, Brazil. UN0846706, The region is made up of 72 islands and is among the four municipalities UNICEF Brazil is carrying out the pilot programme., UNICEF/U.S. CDC/UN0846706/Hiller nurse holding up a sleeve of syringes UN0846672, To provide healthcare to the riverside populations in Abaetetuba, the municipality has a Basic River Health Unit, which visits each community. Nursing Technician Rosimary Bailão da Costa inspects a sleeve of syringes onboard the Basic River Health Unit., UNICEF/U.S. CDC/UN0846672/Hiller Three health workers carrying cooler boxes with vaccines. UN0846708, Community members receive vaccines and have access to doctors, dentists, and nurses every two months, when the Basic River Health Unit health workers visit., UNICEF/U.S. CDC/ UN0846708/Hiller Community health workers traveling by boat to reach families. UN0846680, Through this project, a significant amount of focus is placed on locating children under 5 years of age who are either behind on their vaccination schedule or are zero-dose. Here, Community Health Agent Dene Maria Rodrigues André (second row, right) accompanies the Pinheiro family from their home to the Basic River Health Unit barge for…, UNICEF/U.S. CDC/ UN0846680/Hiller A young girl receives a vaccination in her arm. UN0846695, Deisiane Pinheiro, 8, receives a vaccine on the Basic River Health Unit barge in the community of Caripetuba River in Abaetetuba., UNICEF/U.S. CDC/UN0846695/Hiller A ferry boat full of passengers on the river. Community Health Agent Dene Maria Rodrigues André, a resident of the community of Caripetuba River, arrives by boat at the Basic River Health Unit to support the vaccination of the population in Abaetetuba, Pará state, Brazil. nurse holding up a sleeve of syringes Three…, Childhood immunization is starting to recover and this is what needs to happen next, A young girl looks down at her arm while receiving a vaccination. Rosinaldo, 6, is held by her mother, Ivana Rodrigues Cordeiro, while being vaccinated by Nursing Technician Rosimary Bailão da Costa during a vaccination clinic in the community of Caripetuba River in Abaetetuba, Pará state, Brazil. Immunization initiatives like the Active…