What proportion of children with symptoms of pneumonia is taken to an appropriate health provider? This is a question that all countries should be asking now, as the answer is critical for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal for child survival (SDG 3.2) and national progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under five years in most countries. Increasing the proportion of children who are taken to see a healthcare provider when they are sick will be an essential tool to increase treatment rates and drive child pneumonia deaths to below three per 1,000 live births (the GAPPD* target) and overall child deaths to below 25 per 1,000 live births (the SDG 3.2 target).
As careseeking for a child with the symptoms of pneumonia is now the official indicator for “child treatment” in the UHC Service Coverage Index developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, countries seeking to achieve UHC must ensure that all children with pneumonia symptoms are taken to an appropriate healthcare provider.
How well are countries performing on pneumonia careseeking?
This scorecard lists the 40 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 2,500 children died due to pneumonia in 2019 according to how well they are performing on pneumonia careseeking. Together, these countries account for 90% of all child pneumonia deaths.
The results are alarming. 40% of children with pneumonia symptoms in the countries where pneumonia deaths are concentrated are not being taken for healthcare. Of greatest concern are the 14 countries where more than 50% of children are not taken to healthcare.
Take a look at the Pneumonia Careseeking Scorecard 2020.
The scorecard uses the latest UNICEF estimates of pneumonia careseeking together with the 2019 Global Burden of Disease estimates of national child pneumonia mortality.