Established in 2009, World Pneumonia Day takes place every year on November 12th to raise awareness about pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under the age of five; promote interventions to protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia; and generate action to combat pneumonia. At last week’s Inaugural Pneumonia Innovations Summit, Tim Prestero was one of ten innovators to give a talk at the Summit, presenting DtM’s Pelican pulse oximeter to a panel of experts in philanthropy and industry. Read more details below [UN press release]:
On World Pneumonia Day, more than 50 innovators and 150 global health leaders assembled at the inaugural Pneumonia Innovations Summit to discuss the next wave of innovations with the potential to transform the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood pneumonia.
The leading infectious disease killer of children, pneumonia kills more than 950,000 children under five every year, the vast majority in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Many children die because of delays in appropriate care seeking, diagnosis and treatment as outlined in the recent report, Pushing the Pace: Progress and Challenges in Fighting Childhood Pneumonia. As a result, reductions in childhood pneumonia deaths have not kept pace with declines in malaria, diarrhea, measles and AIDS deaths, leading to calls for new technologies and service delivery models to drive down pneumonia deaths to the levels required to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
Innovations highlighted at the Summit include respiratory rate timers, pulse oximeters, oxygen therapy, and childfriendly antibiotics, as well as technologies to reduce household air pollution and increase access to breast milk, especially for the most vulnerable babies. Experts from universities, business, UN agencies, government and non-government organizations agreed that a big push to get new and improved technologies to the populations where child pneumonia deaths are concentrated is now critical for the achievement of health goals.
Ten innovators were selected to present their most promising innovations including Udantha Abeyratne, Mohammod Jobayer Chisti, Micaela Collins, Faye Evans, Barry Finette, Michael Hawkes, Bernard Olayo, Kristi Otto, Henrik Pranov, and Tim Prestero. A panel of experts from UNICEF, PATH, Malaria Consortium, IBM Watson Health and Grand Challenges Canada offered advice on how to accelerate development and uptake of these innovations, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where pneumonia kills more than 750,000 children every year.
Other innovations highlighted at the Summit include antibiotics mixed with peanut butter that could simultaneously fight bacteria and malnutrition, a urine dipstick that can distinguish viral from bacterial pneumonia, a diagnostic device shaped like an infant pacifier that measures vital signs, and a skin patch that dispenses antibiotics and changes color when the patch needs to be replaced.
The Summit issued a call to action to the global and national health stakeholders to invest in the innovations that can push the pace and win the battle against the leading infectious threat to child survival on the planet – pneumonia.