According to the latest Progress Report for 2016 released on World Pneumonia Day, India has recorded the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths in the world among children aged below five, with nearly three lakh deaths.
The total number of deaths reported in India were 2,96,279 in 2016.
The report released by International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola as the top five countries with highest pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths for children under five.
All these countries had overall Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) scores below 50%.
In 2015, these two diseases together were responsible for nearly one in four deaths that occurred in children under five, the report said.
Only six of the highest-burden countries (Angola, Ethiopia, India, Niger, Sudan and Tanzania) have introduced rotavirus vaccines in their routine immunisation program to help prevent a substantial portion of diarrhoea deaths and hospitalisation. India introduced rotavirus vaccines in four states in 2016 viz. Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
â€śFifteen years after pneumococcal conjugate vaccinesâ€™ (PCV) first introduction globally in 2000 (the United States was first to implement the vaccine), five of the highest pneumonia burden countries (India, Indonesia, Chad, China and Somalia) are still not using the vaccine in their routine immunisation programsâ€ť, the report said.
The report also explains that in countries with large birth cohorts, like India, even relatively low pneumonia and diarrhea mortality rates can result in a high number of deaths. India has a pneumonia mortality rate of 7 and diarrhea mortality rate of 5 per 1000 live births, lower than 11 of the top 15 countries.
It was reported that the health ministry recently announced that the PCV that combats pneumonia, will be rolled out as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme in a phased manner in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.