Pneumonia in low and middle income countries: progress and challenges

Article English OPEN
Zar, H. J. ; Madhi, S. A. ; Aston, Stephen ; Gordon, Stephen (2013)
  • Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
  • Journal: Thorax, volume 68, issue 11, pages 1,052-1,056 (issn: 0040-6376, eissn: 1468-3296)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204247, pmc: PMC3960724
  • Subject: Pneumonia | Review | ws_280 | wc_503_5 | wc_204 | 1506 | wc_202

Pneumonia remains the leading cause of childhood mortality and the most common reason for adult hospitalisation in low and middle income countries, despite advances in preventative and management strategies. In the last decade, pneumonia mortality in children has fallen to approximately 1.3 million cases in 2011, with most deaths occurring in low income countries. Important recent advances include more widespread implementation of protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type B and Streptococcus pneumoniae, implementation of case-management algorithms and better prevention and treatment of HIV. Determining the aetiology of pneumonia is challenging in the absence of reliable diagnostic tests. High uptake of new bacterial conjugate vaccines may impact on pneumonia burden, aetiology and empiric therapy but implementation in immunisation programmes in many low and middle income countries remains an obstacle. Widespread implementation of currently effective preventative and management strategies for pneumonia remains challenging in many low and middle income countries.