NEW YORK, 12 November 2015 – La Caixa Foundation will support UNICEF with a 5 million euro contribution to identify innovative ways to improve the diagnosis of pneumonia among children, the two organizations announced today at the Pneumonia Innovation Summit.

The two-year partnership will support a programme to pilot new pneumonia diagnostic devices that measure a sick child’s respiratory rate to check for fast breathing, a key sign of lung infection. A total of 2,400 new automatic diagnostic devices will initially be distributed and tested in high-prevalence countries, benefiting 120,000 children. Community health care workers will be trained in how to use this device.

Pneumonia is the leading killer of children under five, claiming the lives of nearly 1 million children every year. It is, however, treatable, and simple interventions — such as vaccines, improved indoor air quality, good nutrition and safe hygiene practices — can help reduce its impact.

The partnership will also seek to improve pneumonia treatment through the use of amoxicillin dispersible tablets and will build awareness on how to seek early care.

“For an organization like La Caixa Foundation, contributing as much as possible to the development of science, is a duty,” said Jaume Giró, General Manager of La Caixa Foundation. “That’s why this is such a special day for us: We are tackling a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of lives every year and that we can’t ignore just because it happens in faraway places or we have too many domestic issues to address.”

“Despite major advances in child survival in recent decades, still today a child dies every 35 seconds due to pneumonia,” said Carmelo Angulo, President of the Spanish Committee for UNICEF. “Improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease must be an absolute priority.”

“This alliance is a unique opportunity to elevate the fight against pneumonia to a top priority,” said Gérard Bocquenet, UNICEF’s Director of Private Funding and Partnerships. “This support will be a significant step towards to ensure healthy lives for all children – particularly the most vulnerable ones.”

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About Obra Social “la Caixa” 

As part of the commitment of the Obra Social “la Caixa” helping to eradicate poverty in low-income countries, the organization supports innovative, productive and job creation in collaboration with over seventy Spanish and international organizations.

The International Cooperation Program of “la Caixa” was born in 1997 and since then it has promoted 566 projects of development cooperation and humanitarian aid in 62 countries and with a contribution of over 115 million euros, in addition to promoting awareness and training in Spain. More information at: http://www.lacaixa.es/obrasocial

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and welfare of all children in everything it does. Along with our allies, we work in 190 countries and territories to transform this commitment into practical actions, and we particularly focus our efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children to the benefit of all children everywhere.

For further information, please contact:

Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1212 326 7448, +1917 209 1804, nmekki@unicef.org
Belén de Vicente, UNICEF Spain, +609 160 051 / 91 378 95 55, bvicente@unicef.es
Ariadna Puig, La Caixa Foundation, +93 404 40 95 / 626 28 29 05, apuig@fundaciolacaixa.org
Marina Teixidó, La Caixa Foundation, +93 404 40 92 / 608 09 90 23, mteixido@fundaciolacaixa.org

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