Julia Roberts, who serves as Global Ambassador of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, has spoken up in recognition of World Pneumonia Day, which falls on November 12.

“This World Pneumonia Day I’m speaking out as a mother about the leading killer of children under the age of 5,” she said. "Pneumonia kills about 1.4 million young children annually, 99% of whom die in developing countries. That’s one child dying every 20 seconds.

“I was inspired to join the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves because its core mission is saving lives – especially children’s lives. Of the 2 million people killed each year from diseases caused by toxic smoke from dirty stoves and open cooking fires, about half are young children who die from acute lower respiratory infections, most commonly pneumonia.

“Cooking shouldn’t kill, but the sad reality is that it does, and a disproportionate amount of the victims are children at the household hearth with their mother as she cooks.

“I believe this is a particularly cruel injustice. But it is one that can be stopped.

“The deployment of clean cookstoves and fuels can significantly reduce worldwide childhood death from pneumonia. Combined with our partners’ global efforts to encourage vaccinations and increase basic health and wellness education, the Alliance is playing an important role in reducing pneumonia and other preventable deaths among the world’s most vulnerable people.”

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