The number of deaths from pneumonia in children five years and younger in Peru has fallen sharply in the past decade, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
In 2000, the mortality rate of children suffering pneumonia in Peru was 33.5 per 100,000 children, while in 2012 there were 12.8 deaths per 100,000 children.
The Health Ministry said the decline was due to increased access to health services and more vaccination campaigns by the government.
The highest number of cases of pneumonia in children are in Peru’s jungle region of Loreto and Amazonas, as well as the Andean highland regions of Pasco, Junin and Ayacucho. The latter, with Apurímac and Huancavelica, is one of the poorest regions in the country.
Bronchial infections increase at this time of year in the Andean highlands, including Cusco and Puno, when temperatures drop well below freezing between June and September but housing infrastructure is not always suitable — “modern” brick and cement constructions with iron window frames and thin glass do not have heating systems, while many of the traditional and much warmer adobe homes in rural areas still use open-fire cooking methods that fill the rooms with smoke.