Pneumococcal diseases rank at the top among terminal illnesses causing death in children and adults worldwide. These diseases, including pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and other life-threatening diseases, result in the death of some 1.6 million people every year worldwide, half of whom are children under the age of five. Convening in Istanbul to ensure that pneumococcal vaccine is covered by public health insurance, experts called for global action.

It is time to take action

According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia and meningitis are major causes of child mortality in Turkey. Accordingly, seven thousand children die of pneumonia alone every year on average, which accounts for 14% of child mortality for children under the age of five.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Ciro A. de Quadros, co-chairman of the Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts (PACE), said, “Although pneumococcal diseases are preventable, unfortunately they are very common both in Turkey and around the world. There are thousands of people that we can save by vaccination, and it is time to take action.”

It was further emphasized at the meeting that 5.4 million children could be saved by 2030 through awareness-raising efforts.