NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

World Pneumonia Day 2020

This World Pneumonia Day, RESPIRE is celebrating the work that our PhD students are doing to tackle the disease

A number of RESPIRE PhD students are focussing their research on tackling pneumonia. We are celebrating their work for World Pneumonia Day 2020.

Improving diagnosis of paediatric pneumonia: Salahuddin Ahmed

Salahuddin Ahmed is based at the Projahnmo Research Foundation in Bangladesh, and his work aims to improve the diagnostic accuracy of child pneumonia by using automated lung sound classification. Listening to lung sounds, or auscultation, is not included in the WHO guidelines for diagnosing pneumonia due to its subjectivity, regardless of healthcare provider training level. Salahuddin’s work aims to determine the reliability and performance of a digital auscultation system with hopes to improve the accuracy of diagnosis of respiratory disease among children in low- and middle-income countries.

Read more about Salahuddin’s study

Novel paediatric pulse oximeters and multi-modal devices: Ahad Khan

Severe pneumonia can be associated with hypoxemia, or a low level of oxygen in the blood. Pulse oximeters can be used to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and are frequently used in high-income settings. Due to the cost, durability and lack of systems to support this technology, they haven’t been used so often in low- and middle-income countries. Ahad’s project is looking at lower-cost pulse oximeters and multimodal devices that have been specifically designed for low-income paediatric populations. He wants to determine if they perform equivalently to market-leading standards.

Read more about Ahad’s study

Addressing neglect of childhood pneumonia within global health governance: Lois King

Childhood pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children under five, globally. Despite this, the disease is a lower priority and gets less funding than others, like tuberculosis, malaria and polio. However, numbers of cases of childhood pneumonia in Bangladesh have fallen significantly in the last few decades. The country offers a unique example of what governments are doing to address childhood pneumonia, despite the lack of global prioritisation. Lois hopes her work will inform how countries can address the burden of the disease.

Read more about Lois’ study

mHealth for pneumonia prevention: Hana Mahmood

Pneumonia is the leading cause of under-five morbidity and mortality in Pakistan. One reason for this is that carers do not understand the seriousness of the disease and therefore delay seeking care. A strategy that the World Health Organization and UNICEF have emphasised is counselling through community health workers, known as Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in Pakistan. Hana’s study focuses on the feasibility of using mobile health (mHealth) technology to enhance service and information delivery through Lady Health Workers. The ultimate aim is to discover if LHWs using mHealth changes the behaviour of carers of under-fives in Pakistan: seeking more timely care to reduce mortality due to pneumonia.

Read more about Hana’s study

Introducing pulse oximetry into the care of childhood illnesses in primary health care in Bangladesh: Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman

Hypoxemia, or a low level of oxygen in the blood, is one of the strongest predictors of mortality due to pneumonia in children. Pulse oximetry can monitor the levels of oxygen in the blood in a non-invasive way. In Bangladesh, most primary care facilities do not use pulse oximetry. Ahmed Ehsanur’s PhD study is assessing whether it will be feasible and acceptable to introduce pulse oximetry into the care of childhood illnesses in primary healthcare in Bangladesh. It will also examine the operational challenges of its introduction, and evaluate its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Read more about Ahmed Ehsanur’s study

Examining practices of and barriers to care-seeking for pneumonia in under 5s in rural areas of Pune district, India: Sudipto Roy

It is understood that seeking timely care for pneumonia in children under five is essential tackling the disease. How carers in rural areas of Pune, India seek care, what influences them to do so, and what barriers stop them seeking care are less well known. Sudipto’s PhD study is focussing on how carers in tribal and non-tribal rural areas in Pune District, India seek care. He wants to understand if there are common and regional determinants for care-seeking and how various factors impact when and how carers look for help in treating their under-fives for pneumonia.

Read more about Sudipto’s study