Pneumonia kills 2.5 million people every year – more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined, according to the Global Burden of Disease, 2019. It targets the most vulnerable among us, including 672,000 children under five and 1.2 million adults aged over 70. But despite being the #1 infectious disease threat to our families, pneumonia has not been prioritized by governments, companies, or civil society.
Yet there are people who, year after year and decade after decade, are on the frontlines protecting children from pneumonia. They include:
- Health workers who vaccinate children with the pneumonia-fighting vaccines and diagnose and treat the children who become ill with antibiotics, oxygen, and therapeutic foods;
- Government employees who work tirelessly to motivate their own departments and political leaders to invest in pneumonia control;
- Company employees who design new products and services and persuade their management to invest in them;
- UN agency staff who mobilize the UN network to elevate pneumonia on the global health agenda;
- Academics who undertake the research necessary to shape public policies;
- NGO staff who take the research and design and implement new programs that have greater impact; and
- University students who innovate new products and spin-off start-ups to commercialize them.
Spread all over the world, and often unknown even to each other, these are the people you never hear about and yet so many lives depend on the progress they make, day after day, year after year. They are hidden heroes fighting a silent killer and on World Pneumonia Day (November 12th), JustActions is proud to recognize their work and thank them, and ask you to thank them too.