Shea-Porter's Resolution Recognizing World Pneumonia Day Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC —Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s resolution recognizing World Pneumonia Day.  The world’s leading killer of children, pneumonia is under noticed, underfunded, and undertreated.  The disease kills 4 million people each year -- 2 million of them children.  It takes the lives of more children under the age of five than measles, malaria, and AIDS combined.  Every 15 seconds, a child dies of pneumonia.

Last night, Congresswoman Shea-Porter spoke on the House floor on this issue.  You may view the floor speech here.   

A full copy of the Congresswoman’s remarks are below. 

Remarks of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

H.Res. 863, Recognizing World Pneumonia Day

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Thank you, M. Speaker.  I would like to thank Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen and their staffs for their support and work on this resolution.  It is important for the House of Representatives to recognize the devastating toll that pneumonia takes on children across the world, and I am proud that we are considering this resolution today.

Yesterday marked the first annual World Pneumonia Day.  Almost 100 global health organizations joined together to bring awareness to this terrible disease. 

The world’s leading killer of children, pneumonia is under noticed, underfunded, and undertreated.  The disease kills 4 million people each year -- 2 million of them children.  It takes the lives of more children under the age of five than measles, malaria, and AIDS combined.  Every 15 seconds, a child dies of pneumonia.

The horror of this disease is that it is so preventable and treatable.  Consider these facts:

Studies in developing countries indicate that only one in four caregivers know the two key symptoms of pneumonia – fast and difficult breathing.  This leads to pneumonia going untreated, which is deadly. 

Fewer than 1/3 of the children who develop pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need to fight the illness, even though those antibiotics are available for less than $1.

Half the cases of pneumonia that occur could be prevented by ensuring that these children have access to the vaccines they need.

M. Speaker, these facts paint a bleak picture.  Millions of lives are being lost every year when they could be saved.  They could be saved by international cooperation to educate and train caregivers.  They could be saved if people could just have access to the vaccines and medicines they need.

My resolution affirms this body’s commitment to saving these lives by supporting programs that focus on the protection, prevention, and treatment of pneumonia.  It commends the health professionals across the globe, who every day work in the world’s poorest countries to treat and care for the victims of pneumonia.  And it reaffirms the United States’ commitment to reducing child mortality.

Finally, this resolution recognizes World Pneumonia Day.  In doing so, the House of Representatives joins with the dozens of global health organizations working to raise the awareness of this disease and to focus resources on protection, prevention, and treatment.

M. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to recognize the millions of lives that are lost ever year because of pneumonia.  I urge my colleagues to encourage that international cooperation and resources be focused on combating this disease.  Millions of lives can and should be saved.  I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.

Thank you.  I yield back.