"In Madagascar, pneumonia is responsible for 21 percent of deaths among children under five years old -- making it the leading cause of death for this age group," but "[t]he recent introduction of a vaccine to protect against pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of severe childhood pneumonia, is attempting to reduce the thousands of child deaths that occur every year in" the country, IRIN reports. "Yet there are major stumbling blocks for the vaccination program: the country's poor infrastructure and its high poverty rates," as well as a political crisis and a lack of health care workers, the news service writes. "Government health statistics show that in 2011, some 83,171 Malagasy children received no vaccinations for any diseases. In the first quarter of 2012, this number rose to 191,435," according to IRIN, which discusses efforts by the government and UNICEF to reach children in rural areas (1/22).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.