Global childhood deaths from pneumonia can be reduced. Pneumonia is the biggest infectious killer of children under five, tragically killing one million last year despite being wholly treatable.
The Save the Children’s Fighting for Breath report makes clear, if we continue on the current trajectory, there will still be 735,000 deaths from pneumonia by 2030. In contrast, if we get on track to meet the internationally accepted goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030, we will save one million lives over the next five years. The UK has a vital role to play in creating a global movement to tackle the disease and I am proud to pledge my support for Save the Children’s campaign on this issue.
The Fighting for Breath report notes that pneumonia is overwhelmingly a disease of poverty. Children die from the disease because they are denied the benefits of prevention, accurate diagnosis and treatment. Save the Children argues that this highlights the critical importance of universal health coverage.
At the June 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto that included a commitment to establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage, which would provide global partnerships, support and encouragement to countries, helping them to generate the funding and systems required for its delivery. I also committed to supporting investment in new public-health driven research and development to find effective and affordable treatments for diseases in the developing world.
I will continue to support the need for strong UK leadership on this issue.