Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA. Every prevention of pneumonia in children of early age an estimated 156 million new cases of pneumonia and nearly 2 million deaths from the disease occur in children under 5 years of age. Seasonal influenza is a major cause of pneumonia in children.
Nevertheless, seasonal influenza vaccine is not widely used and has not been tested in the field for its effect on the burden of pneumonia. WHO to be administered to young children. Even if vaccines against pneumonia were introduced into routine childhood immunization programmes, reaching all children in a given country would require a strong, fully-functioning immunization system. Globally, most children who develop pneumonia reside in low-income countries, many of which have weak immunization systems. However, it is not a panacea. Integration of non-vaccine pneumonia interventions with the childhood immunization platform could potentially be more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable than multiple vertical programmes.
Country health officials are already exploring ways to integrate pneumonia prevention and control strategies as part of the GAPP framework. There are challenges to integrating pneumonia prevention and treatment interventions with immunization services, as noted in Table 1. Adding more work to the immunization programme without provision of more staff, resources and time may strain a sometimes fragile programme. 32 As with other health interventions that are integrated into immunization services, the delivery strategy needs to fit the intervention. Rigorous evaluation will be needed to assess both the feasibility and the impact of integrating pneumonia interventions with immunization programmes.