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World Pneumonia day is commemorated every year on 12 November with the aim of raising awareness on Pneumonia as the number one infectious cause of death in children under-5 worldwide.

In Kenya, pneumonia causes between 8000-10,000 annual childhood deaths representing about 1 in 5 of all child deaths.

In 2013, the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) was introduced to reduce childhood deaths from pneumonia (figure 1). The target was to reduce the number of childhood pneumonia deaths to 3 per 1000 live births in all countries by 2025.

Figure 1: GAPPD strategy

In Kenya, the Ministry of Health has adopted the GAPPD strategy as the Kenya Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (KAPPD) that is aligned with the national priorities including Vision 2030 and Universal Health Coverage

Compared to the other top causes of childhood deaths, progress on reducing pneumonia deaths lags behind. This is especially concerning because majority of pneumonia deaths are easily preventable through simple measures such as the use of vaccines and provision of adequate treatment.

Within CIN, SEARCH is a study to compare different injectable antibiotic treatments and different modes of fluid treatment for children with severe pneumonia. SEARCH is a pragmatic 3×2 factorial randomised controlled trial. The study is comparing:

  • 3 antibiotic treatments: Benzyl penicillin plus gentamicin (standard of care) vs Ceftriaxone vs Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid.
  • 2 supportive care interventions: nasogastric feeding vs intravenous fluids.

SEARCH aims to see if the study treatments can reduce: (1) The number of deaths within the first five days after enrolment, (2) The length of hospitalisation, (3) Time taken to be able to drink and (4) The number of deaths within 30 days after enrolment.

The study is currently running in the following 10 CIN hospitals: Bungoma County Referral Hospital; Busia County Referral Hospital; Embu Level 5 Hospital; Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital; Kiambu County Referral Hospital; Kisumu County Referral Hospital; Kitale County Referral Hospital; Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital; Machakos Level 5 Hospital and Naivasha County Referral Hospital.

This article was written by Dr. Lynda Isaaka and was first published in the November 2021 CIN bulletin, read the entire bulletin here

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