We are seeing many children with pneumonia, small children, most of them less than 2 years of age. Today, we did rounds in the overflow tent, where almost every child had pneumonia.
Pneumonia kills as many children in sub-Saharan Africa as malaria, but it gets less attention from researchers and international donors. In Sudan, pneumonia is responsible for between 20-25% of deaths in children less than 5. Of course, pneumonia occurs everywhere in the world, in both temperate and tropical climates, but illness and death from pneumonia is much more common in poor countries like Sudan. The reasons are poverty, malnutrition, over-crowding and lack of access to health care. The two main bacterial causes of childhood pneumonia are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hemophilus influenza. There are also viral causes of pneumonia, such as the Respiratory Syncytial Virus and the Measles virus. In developed countries, we have vaccines against both of the bacterial causes, but of course these vaccines are not available here, where many children do not even receive basic immunization against measles, tetanus and whooping cough.
Rounds in the Overflow Tent