Pneumonia Leads Global Scourges In Kids : Shots - Health News A consortium of health groups aims to reduce the 2 million deaths of kids from pneumonia each year.

Pneumonia Leads Global Scourges In Kids

With all the attention on the danger malaria and HIV/AIDS pose for kids around the globe, you might be surprised to learn that pneumonia kills more than 2 million children worldwide each year--more than any other disease.

A woman holds her 8-month-old, sick with pneumonia, in Bangalore, India. Aijaz Rahi/AP ) hide caption

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Aijaz Rahi/AP )

A woman holds her 8-month-old, sick with pneumonia, in Bangalore, India.

Aijaz Rahi/AP )

Pneumonia is a preventable and treatable. But antibiotics and immunizations that we take for granted in the US, just aren't available in parts of the world where pneumonia is a big problem.

Almost all the pneumonia deaths in kids--98 percent--occur in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where vaccines, antibiotics and basic medical care are often hard to come by. The death toll has prompted global health groups to mobilize in a fight against pneumonia in children. They're kicking off the effort today.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF unveiled a six-year plan to curb the disease. The groups urge a three-pronged attack: protection of children's immune systems though better nutrition and breastfeeding; vaccination, and treatment with antibiotics.

The Global Coalition Against Pneumonia, made up of almost 100 international health organizations, has even designated today World Pneumonia Day, to improve awareness of pneumonia as a serious global health issue. Check out this map for a rundown of events.