In these trying times, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is not the only devastating lower respiratory infection out there. Pneumonia is still a leading infectious cause of death, with over 2.5 million deaths every year. For this reason, even during this global pandemic, World Pneumonia Day will be held this November 12.
COVID-19 has helped to bring light to the need for supplemental oxygen, but it’s not the only need. In terms of pneumonia, there are still major deficits in healthcare infrastructure and diagnostics. Physicians and clinicians in the developing world still lack many of the current tools for the diagnosis of pneumonia. To compound on this issue, there is no rapid diagnostic test for pneumonia. With the expectation of 200 or more patients per day, these clinicians are in the position to benefit the greatest from such a development, and yet, pneumonia and other infectious diseases receive minimal funding.
We hope that the attention garnered by COVID-19 will lead to action, in both planning and funding. COVID-19 has helped to reveal a number of the gaps, but it is up to all of us to ensure they are addressed for the future.