Worldwide, the top two leading causes of mortality and morbidity among children less than 5 years of age are pneumonia and diarrhea. The Philippines reflects this same scenario.
Pneumonia is the single greatest cause of death in children worldwide. In fact, pneumonia is the leading cause of illness and death among Filipino children less than 5 years old. National statistics show an estimated 37 Filipino children die of pneumonia every day.1
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung which affects primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. The typical symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacterium S. pneumoniae also known as pneumococcus which can result to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia. It can also result to Acute Otitis Media (AOM) which is an ear infection, a common and highly prevalent disease. It also includes severe diseases such as meningitis, complicated pneumonia, and sepsis (blood poisoning), which occur when the pneumococcus "invades" the blood. The invasive forms of the pneumococcal disease are a category called Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD).
Globally, diarrhea is the second leading killer of children under 5 years of age, accounting for 1.4 million child deaths annually. Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE) is the common cause of diarrhea and severe dehydration in young children. It is also the leading reason of diarrheal hospitalizations and deaths among children. It is most severe and frequent in infants aged 3-24 months. 2
Rotavirus infects virtually every child within the first 5 years of life, irrespective of race or socio-economic status. That is why it is called a “democratic virus.” In the Philippines, diarrhea is the second leading cause of child mortality accounting for almost 5,000 deaths yearly, translating to more than 13 Filipino children dying due to diarrhea every day. 1