In New York this week, the UN General Assembly meets to check its progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - the compact that Bono called "the most visionary deal that most people have never heard of." They'll be checking in on a whole list of these goals, but perhaps the one that most epitomizes the humanitarian ambition of the goals is the fourth MDG, which aims to reduce child mortality by two-thirds. Progress is being made on this goal but much more can and should be done, especially against pneumonia and diarrhea--the two leading killers of children around the world.
1. Raise a Glass to Pneumonia's Last Syrah
Every time you buy a case of Syrah wine--made from a traditional Rhone grape that now grows on nearly every continent--you can help get rid of a case of pneumonia. Through a group called the Rhône Rangers more than a dozen American wine makers and retailers will contribute $10 to the GAVI Alliance for every case of Syrah sold during the month of November. So stop a case of pneumonia by purchasing a case of wine from one of these retailers.
2. Urge top political leaders to take action against pneumonia
Heads of state, Members of Parliament, Members of Congress and other political leaders from both industrialized and developing countries have the power to act to allocate funds to fight this tremendously under-resourced problem. You can tell them how important it is that we stop the deaths of more than 1.5 million children each year. Our leaders won't act unless we do. Click here to send a message to your public officials today.
For the price of a Starbucks Latte, you can give a child a dose of a life-saving pneumonia vaccine or assure that children who get pneumonia have access to the antibiotics they need to recover. Just $10 can fully protect a child against the leading cause of pneumonia. The protection of vaccines not only save lives, but also increase the productivity and growth of families, communities--even entire countries. You can make your life-giving gift by visiting the GAVI Alliance or Save the Children websites.
4. Spread the word--No matter if you're online, off-line or standing in line!
There are many easy ways to build awareness about the toll of pneumonia and the opportunities for its prevention, and we have resources available to assist your effort, which will continue to be updated as World Pneumonia Day approaches. We also invite you to join our Facebook page for regular updates on the campaign and ways to get involved.
We can all play an important role in supporting World Pneumonia Day and helping to save the lives of children all around the world.
Follow Dr. Orin Levine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/orinlevine