November 12th is World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death of children under the age of five worldwide, and not surprisingly, 98% of these deaths occur in developing countries. The sad part is that the vast majority of them are preventable- these children die because they lack access to vaccination, antibiotic treatment, and basic medical care. The World Pneumonia Day website is a good source of information and ways to help in the fight against a disease that belongs in the past.
My laboratory performs research on the bacteria that cause pneumonia, and recently received a large grant to run a pneumococcal vaccine trial in Vietnam (a grant that pays my postdoc salary- yay!).
On a related note, when I hear the anti-vaccine loons from the US and the UK spouting nonsense and misinformation, it makes my blood boil. Vaccines are safe, and people who are fortunate enough to live in countries where they have access to them should be grateful.