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About 4,500 children die of pneumonia in Vietnam every year

About 4,500 children die of pneumonia in Vietnam every year

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 17:31 GMT+7

Vietnam has about 2.9 million new pneumonia child patients under five years old and about 4,500 children of this age die of the disease every day, a seminar was told on Wednesday. These figures were released at a symposium on “preventing pneumonia to protect children” held by the Ho Chi Minh City Preventive Health Center, and the Mẹ & Con (Mothers and Children) magazine. Dr. Truong Huu Khanh, head of the Infection Department of the Pediatrcis Hospital 1 in HCMC, citing a study of the World Health Organization, told the event that pneumonia is the number one killer among communicable diseases in children, especially those under five years old. According to statistics, Vietnam ranks nine among the 15 countries with the highest rates of children with pneumonia every year, and the country’s child death toll of the disease is around 4,500 per year.  Meanwhile, the world has 1 million children under 2 years old that die of pneumonia every year, accounting for 15 percent of total deaths of children within this age range.  That means 4,300 children die of pneumonia in the world everyday or one child dies of the disease every 20 seconds. Vietnam has 2.9 million new child pneumonia patients under 5 every year, Dr. Khanh said, adding that 30-40 children are hospitalized to his hospital every day to be treated for respiratory problems including pneumonia. Pneumonia has great impacts on children health and patients need as many as 6-18 months to recover from the disease, the doctor said. The most common symptoms of pneumonia include cough, fever (which may be mild or high), shaking chills, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat, he said. There are many factors causing pneumonia in children, but the most common culprit is Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria, which is found living in the throat of both adults and children. The bacteria spread through the air when patients cough or sneeze. Pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumonia is very fatal, with the mortality rate being 10-20 percent, which increases up to 50 percent in children under two years old and elderly people. In order to protect children from pneumonia as well as other diseases, children should be breastfed exclusively in their first six months of life and need to be fed with enough nutrients, especially in the period between six months to two years old, Dr. Khanh said.

Keeping the living environment clean and hygienic is also one way to help protect children from pneumonia as well as many other communicable diseases, he added.

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