Unicef highlights Pakistan's problems with pneumonia and child mortality

A new report from the charity Unicef has highlighted the huge number of children dying from pneumonia in Pakistan.

Dr Tariq Iqbal and Dr Aurangzaib Kamal visited the country this week and held a forum on the disease - which is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus Pneumonia - in conjunction with the government of Balochistan and the Society of Social Development.

They said that more than 24,000 children die from pneumonia in Pakistan each year, with 663,000 cases reported in total.

Furthermore, the maternal mortality rate is 272 out of every 100,000 and the child mortality rate stands at 94 per 100,000, with many of the infants affected being newborns whose immune systems are particularly frail.

Balochistan - the largest province in the country - is particularly badly affected, with a maternal mortality rate of 785 per 100,000.

Unicef said it is to begin a new vaccination programme against pneumonia next month.

It comes after the Global Burden of Diseases Study found child and maternal mortality rates remain stubbornly high in parts of Africa.

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