Pneumococcal disease causes pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and other life-threatening ailments, and kills 1.6 million people — including more than 800,000 children under the age of five — every year. The experts meeting in Istanbul to ensure that pneumococcal vaccine is covered by the public health insurance called for global action.

It is time to take action

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

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Ciro A. de Quadros, the co-chairman of Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts (PACE), said, “Although the pneumococcal diseases are preventable, they are unfortunately 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 also pointed out at the meeting that 5.4 million children could be saved by 2030 through awareness-raising efforts.