An Innovative Approach to Treat Childhood Pneumonia

Location of Liberia

As part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen access to quality Maternal and Child Health services, Direct Relief is teaming up with Last Mile Health to launch a community-based expansion of rural access to pneumonia treatment for children. Childhood pneumonia is the largest killer of children under five years of age. It is more deadly than AIDS, Malaria, and Measles combined. The World Health Organization considers it one of global healths most solvable problems.

Last Mile Health will train, employ, and support Frontline Health Workers in Grand Gedeh County, Liberia, to detect children with pneumonia, provide home-based treatment, refer to health facilities for advanced care, and ensure treatment success.

Studies have indicated that increased involvement of Frontline Health Workers (or Community Health Workers) can successfully reduce child mortality by improving case management of childhood illnesses, including pneumonia.[1]

The program begins this week with the training of surveyors to conduct a baseline survey of the area to estimate the prevalence of pneumonia in children under five, identify barriers to care, and estimate the proportion of children with pneumonia who do not receive treatment. The Frontline Health Workers will use handheld GPS devices provided by Direct Relief to track location information for all health survey results, and map the rural roads to improve the speed and efficiency of health worker outreach.

Following a full analysis of survey data, Last Mile Health and Direct Relief will begin a year-long program implementation seeking to increase the treatment of childhood pneumonia by 50 percent in the district of 30,000 people. Direct Relief will ensure access to the medicine and medical supplies needed to treat those who are diagnosed.

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