Each year, 156 million cases of childhood pneumonia are treated worldwide, with children in developing countries accounting for more than 95% of all new cases worldwide.
Each year, 156 million cases of childhood pneumonia are treated worldwide, with children in developing countries accounting for more than 95% of all new cases worldwide. Singapore, along with Malaysia, have less pneumonia deaths as compared to the Philippines, China and Indonesia. More children die from pneumonia than car accidents in the Philippines. Cost effective measure of saving children would be vaccination. However, with many pneumonia related diseases around, how many vaccines can a child get? .
But what if there was a vaccine for all children that could ward them off not just pneumonia but other diseases such as otitis media (includes a range of potentially serious inflammatory middle ear infections which commonly occur during childhood), non-typeable Haemophilus influenza (bacterium is commonly found in the upper respiratory tract) and aids children who suffer from antibiotic resistance?
This next generation pneumococcal vaccine provides children with dual-pathogen protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) and Non-Typeable Haemophilus influenza (NTHi), two major causes of childhood infections and their complications. With active immunisation, children in Asia can be better protected against serious, life-threatening childhood diseases such as invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and acute otitis media (AOM) .This vaccine is closer to reality than we can imagine. On 10th of August, in Manila, Philippines, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a leading healthcare company, announced the Asian launch of its new 10-valent next generation pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenza protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 1 million children under the age of five die from pneumococcal disease every year6. Pneumococcal disease includes serious, invasive diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and blood infection (bacteraemia), to less severe, but highly prevalent diseases, such as otitis media, sinusitis and bronchitis. The WHO estimates reveal that over 90% of children’s deaths caused by pneumococcal disease occur in developing countries.
GSK’s next generation pneumococcal vaccine received approval in the Philippines on 9th July 2009. It is indicated in the Philippines for the active immunisation of infants and children from six weeks up to two years of age against disease caused by S.pneumoniae strains and against acute otitis media caused by NTHi.
How is news of this vaccine welcomed?
“A new vaccine to prevent AOM means that we can reduce the risk of early onset ear infections that often lead to recurrent disease. Recurrent disease is harder to treat and is associated with greater complications”; says Professor Gretchen Navarro-Locsin, Paediatric Otorhinolaryngologist Vice Chair, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Philippines. “For some children with otitis media, permanent hearing loss occurs, which can affect speech and language development and even school performance.”“Its good news that prevention against Pneumococcal disease is continuously improving and that broader and more relevant coverage is now possible with GSK’s new pneumococcal vaccine,” says Professor Lulu Bravo, Vice Chancellor for Research & Executive Director, National Institute of Health, University of the Philippines, Manila and Chairperson, Asian Strategic Alliance for Pneumococcal Prevention (ASAP).
Also present for the launch was Philippines Senator Loren Legarda. Senator Legarda, who has authored legislation benefitting women and children and has also put to school dozens of former child laborers, gives her full support for this vaccine. After a pledge to better the lives of children, Senator Legarda, released butterflies as a significance of the pledge and the search of a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.
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