Research, Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health

99% of Deaths Due to Pneumonia in Young Children Occur in Developing Countries

ISGlobal's research centre, CRESIB, participates in the first-ever analysis of the worldwide burden of pneumonia in young children


Severe respiratory infections are one of the main causes of child mortality worldwide and in developing countries in particular. Although pneumonia is a preventable and curable disease, it causes close to 1.6 million deaths a year in children under the age of five.

Severe respiratory infections are a major burden on hospital services, but reliable figures on global hospital admissions due to these infections were lacking until very recently. To address this shortcoming, the World Health Organization created a working group formed by 50 scientists from all over the world, including researchers from ISGlobal's research centre, CRESIB, and the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) in Mozambique, to analyse global data and estimate the incidence of hospital admissions and death due to pneumonia in children worldwide.

The results of this first global analysis, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, show that while 62% of children under the age of five with severe acute respiratory infections are treated in hospitals, 81% of deaths occur outside hospitals. Furthermore, 99% of in-hospital deaths due to severe respiratory infections happen in developing countries. The results of the study suggest that improved hospital access and better management of respiratory infections in the community could reduce deaths due to severe pneumonia in young children.

Full article in The Lancet: