Rwanda on November 12 joined the world to mark World Pneumonia Day. The day is observed annually to highlight and raise awareness about the complications and issues related to pneumonia. Pneumonia is a disease that affects the lungs and aggravates the air sacs of the lungs as they are filled with discharge or liquids due to an infection. It can spread through coughing and sneezing and fluids such as blood during childbirth. The symptoms can be mild or severe depending on the condition of the patient. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rate of the severity of pneumonia is more in children less than five years of age and adults above 65 years of age are also at maximum risk. Therefore, it is necessary to be informed and take precautions to prevent the disease at an early stage. Pneumonia claimed the lives of 2.5 million, including 672,000 children, in 2019 alone. The combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and conflict are fuelling a pneumonia crisis across the life course – placing millions more at risk of infection and death. In 2021, the estimated burden of deaths from respiratory infections, including COVID-19, is a massive 6 million, according to Stop Pneumonia Org. Most of the populations dangerously exposed to pneumonia live in a group of low-and-middle-income countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dr François Regis Cyiza, Director of the Health Facility Program Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) said in Rwanda, 52,124 children aged under five years had the disease between July 2021 and June 2022. Of them, he continued, 69 per cent were treated by Community Health Workers (CHWs) while 18.2 per cent were treated at health centres. Cyiza also noted that Pneumonia is the third disease that affects children under the age of five, following Diarrhoea and Malaria. He declared that Rwanda uses different prevention measures to reduce risk factors as recommended by the WHO. Those, he said, include vaccinating children to prevent them from being harshly affected by the disease, mobilising people to take those with signs of pneumonia to health centres and CHWs and staying in a conducive environment with fresh air. Dr Cyusa urged parents to take children as well as adults with signs of pneumonia to health centres or reach out to CHWs, declaring that they are now able to test and provide treatment, especially for children. The symptoms of pneumonia include a cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. This year, World Pneumonia Day will be observed during COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference providing a critical opportunity to bring together the health, air quality and climate community in the fight against the biggest infectious killer on the planet. According to stoppneumonia.org, children living in areas with declining vaccination rates, rising malnutrition due to food shortages, and homes that use polluting fuels for cooking and heating, are particularly vulnerable. UNICEF has also predicted an explosion in child deaths if urgent action is not taken to reach these children, including with oxygen and antibiotics. Older adults exposed to air pollution – most significantly from burning fossil fuels – and smoking are also at risk. Almost half of the estimated 1.6 million pneumonia deaths among adults aged over 50 are attributable to air pollution and smoking.