Some constituents have contacted me about helping end childhood deaths from pneumonia.
No child should die from the cold. As constituents have suggested, it requires international action to end this tragedy. That is why I am pleased that the UK is the largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which delivers the pneumococcal vaccine to developing countries to protect against the main cause of pneumonia. Between 2010 and 2016, 109 million children received the vaccine with Gavi support, saving an estimated 762,000 lives.
The UK is firmly committed to achieving the Global Goals. As part of this commitment, DFID supports countries to build stronger health systems that can respond to existing diseases and emerging health needs.
It may be of interest to some constituents to know that in November, the Government announced a new £62 million package of aid to help protect thousands of helpless Syrian children this winter. Temperatures plummet in Syria in the winter and as many as 1 in 3 child deaths could be caused by respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia – up from 1 in 10 before the crisis began. Chest infections are now the number one reason for children in Syria seeking medical attention. UK aid will provide immunisations and give early treatment for coughs and colds, preventing children from suffering life-threatening illnesses and giving them hope for the future. It will also help provide hot meals, warm clothes and blankets and restore large buildings so that people have a safe and clean place to stay now, and in the future, helping to stop children falling ill in the first place.
I have written to the Secretary of State to seek her views on this matter. Once I have heard back from her I will update my website.