times of India
12 November 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs), a disease group that includes pneumonia, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is causing 4.25 million deaths annually. According to the first–ever ARI Atlas published by the World Lung Foundation on Thursday, ARIs are the third largest cause of mortality in the world and the top killer in low– and middle–income countries like India.
Pneumonia is one of the worst ARI and alone accounted for 20% of all pediatric deaths around the world 1.6 million in 2008. India recorded the highest number of deaths due to pneumonia – 3.7 lakh. The death rate due to pneumonia was 215 times higher in low–income countries compared with high–income countries.
Also, 97% of the 156 million new cases of pneumonia each year occur in the developing world. Lack of trained doctors has been identified as one of the causes. India has just six physicians per 10,000 people while it is eight in Pakistan, 14 in China and six in Sri Lanka.