2,000,000 children die every year from pneumonia

To a person unfamiliar with medical statistics, it may seem that the situation with children’s morbidity does not change, but the health of children in our country is deteriorating every year, children get sick more often.

The incidence is not growing in leaps, but gradually – and many simply do not realize its growth. At the same time, against the background of a general deterioration in the health of children in Russia, the proportion of respiratory diseases in the structure of acute childhood morbidity increased from 60% to 80%. It would seem that there is nothing surprising in the fact that children get colds more often than other diseases.

However, the list of respiratory diseases is not limited to the common cold. ARI and SARS are only a small part of the list, which includes both acute otitis media and pneumonia (pneumonia). At first glance, there is no connection between these two diseases. But in 60% of cases, otitis media is caused by pneumococcus, the causative agent of pneumonia. It can also cause meningitis, an inflammation of the meninges. If a person falls ill with meningitis, the help of a doctor makes sense only in the first 12 hours of the illness. At the slightest delay, the patient can no longer be saved.

And pneumonia kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. About two million babies die from it every year in the world. Inflammation of the lungs is the cause of almost 20% of all deaths in children in the first five years of life. In our country, in 2011-2012, 1 in 100 infants under 12 months of age and one in 40 children aged 1-2 years had pneumonia. In Moscow in 2012, 26% of child deaths from infections and parasitic diseases were caused by pneumonia.

However, this disease is given very, very little attention. Let’s clarify right away: the reason for the terrible statistics is not only and not so much the lack of professionalism of doctors. Children between the ages of three and 18 months (that is, up to one and a half years) have practically no immunity. When an infection enters the body, the immune response is very weak. To survive and recover, it is not enough. The baby is defenseless against any disease.

Vaccination protects against pneumonia and meningitis. However, today only 13% of babies in the world are not vaccinated against pneumococcus. First of all, these are Russian babies… In the domestic vaccination schedule, vaccination against pneumococcus is not yet listed. But it is already in a number of regional calendars. For example, in the calendar of the Sverdlovsk region – since 2008. This was not easy to achieve. Difficulties begin at the legal level. In order for a doctor to vaccinate a child against pneumococcus, he needs a decision that this vaccine is needed. Otherwise, the doctor will be punished. In seeking to include vaccination against pneumococcus in the vaccination schedule, doctors literally went in circles: medical studies confirming the obvious fact – the frequency of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in children; appeals to state bodies; failures; new appeals; finally, the first documents and “pilot” vaccination.

Other difficulties stand in the way of those who seek to expand the vaccination calendar in our country. Vaccinations are not trusted. Not everything is known to our citizens about what pneumococcus is and what infections it causes. The types of this dangerous microorganism in different Russian regions are different. The prevalence of certain subspecies of the microbe depends on climatic conditions. Another difficulty, which is no longer due to the distrust of patients, is the financing of vaccinations. However, vaccination against a serious illness will in any case be cheaper than treating the same disease in a hospital. Think about how many children can be vaccinated for the amount that the state allocates for the hospitalization of only one child …

And now – the numbers. 1 day of meningitis treatment in intensive care costs 30-40 thousand rubles. In accordance with the tariffs of medical and economic standards of compulsory medical insurance in St. Petersburg in 2012, 39,419 rubles are allocated for the treatment of purulent otitis in a hospital, and 46,174 rubles for the treatment of purulent meningitis in a hospital. If a child under three years of age has pneumonia and is being treated at home, the state will allocate 44,367 rubles. If a child with pneumonia is already three years old, the amount will be slightly less – 43,076 rubles. So vaccination does not hit the budget – but, on the contrary, saves it …

The vaccination calendar will be expanded. On September 17, the Government Commission on Legislative Activities approved the bill introduced by the Ministry of Health on amending Article 9 of the Federal Law “On Immunization of Infectious Diseases” in terms of supplementing the National Preventive Immunization Calendar with vaccination against pneumococcal infection. In other words, vaccination against pneumococcus will finally be allowed at the federal level. From regional vaccination calendars, it will move to the national one.

As reported on the website of the Government, the adoption of the bill is aimed at reducing infant mortality and disability through mass immunization https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunization of children in their first year of life against pneumococcal infection.

In conclusion, I would like to say to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Remember, before refusing to be vaccinated, consult with specialists, because refusing to vaccinate can cost your baby his life.