06 December 2010

MOVE Against Pneumonia

Pneumonia Day
On 2 December 2010, the Philippines counts among the top 10 countries with the most number of recorded pneumonia cases. With 9,000 kids dying from it every year in the country, pneumonia is considered the top killer of Filipino children.

MOVE aims to change this alarming trend in its nationwide campaign against pneumonia. The groundbreaking project called on local government units (LGUs) and concerned Filipinos to step up the fight against pneumonia through the biggest dance revolution the country has ever seen.

With the support of leading research-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), MOVE aims to spread awareness about this disease and that there is an effective way to prevent it — through vaccination.

MOVE is the unique way of the University of the Philippines' National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) of celebrating World Pneumonia Day, wherein people from all over the world unite in the fight against pneumonia.

With the participation of different LGUs, the National Institutes of Health executive director Dr. Lulu Bravo, Pinoy Big Brother housemate and dancer Mickey Perz who led the participants in Manila, the revolutionary MOVE event saw thousands of participants stepping into their dancing shoes simultaneously in the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong and Las Piñas.

For each registered participant of MOVE, GSK has committed to donate a dose of its pneumococcal vaccine to these cities to ensure a pneumonia-free future for a Filipino child.

Through MOVE, over 2,000 Filipino children (609 in Manila, 413 in Las Piñas and 1,000 in Mandaluyong City) will receive vaccines against this deadly disease.

This is in addition to the 364 infant beneficiaries immunized through the previous MOVE events among health care professionals during the GSK Pedia Congress in Manila and Vaccines Congress in Palawan.

"When we talk about disease awareness or prevention, the default action is to hold seminars or distribute flyers, but we wanted to do something different this time. As the name of the event signifies, we want to be able to move people," said Bravo.

"And holding a dance spectacle will hopefully be an engagingly different way for people to sit up, take notice, and most especially, move against pneumonia," Bravo added.

Dr. Sally Gatchalian, GSK medical affairs director said, "Ninety-eight percent of children who die from pneumonia live in developing countries such as the Philippines. GSK is committed to fighting childhood pneumonia and is finding more ways to prevent needless suffering and death from this disease through efforts like the MOVE campaign."

Most people may think that pneumonia isn’t a serious health threat, but statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that infections caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium are the leading cause of deaths among children worldwide, with more than one million dying from pneumococcal meningitis and pneumonia every year.

This bacterium does not only cause deaths, it can also causes hearing impairment and developmental problems in children.

In the Philippines, reports from the Department of Health (DOH) state that pneumonia is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in children aged five and below.

Statistics gathered in 2008 showed that 13,545 children aged one month to less than five years old died of pneumonia in that year alone, accounting for 34 percent of deaths in Filipino children in that age range. This means approximately 37 children die daily due to pneumonia in the Philippines.