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Philips employees and Philips Foundation join forces in the fight on childhood pneumonia

Amsterdam, the Netherlands  – WEBWIRE

The mission of the Philips Foundation is to reduce healthcare inequality by providing access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities. -Ronald de Jong, Chairman of the Philips Foundation Board.

Focused program of partnerships, collaboration, funding and volunteering addresses the community-level prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a disease that takes the lives of around 800,000 under-five-year-olds each year, mostly in disadvantaged communities.

 Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and the Philips Foundation, with its mission to reduce healthcare inequality by providing access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities, today announced the achievements of a year-long program of collaborations to reduce infant mortality rates for childhood pneumonia, a disease that currently claims the lives of around 800,000 under-five-year-olds a year [1] – equivalent to one every 39 seconds. 

Combining the volunteering activities of Philips’ 80,000 employees, local stakeholder engagement, accessible and affordable technology, and the scale-up capabilities of international NGOs, this childhood pneumonia program exemplifies the Philips Foundation’s commitment to drive and support initiatives that deliver long-term system change and achieve lasting impact. During the past 12 months, the program is estimated to have created access to better care for more than 700,000 people, in countries as widespread as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Malawi and India.

“The mission of the Philips Foundation is to reduce healthcare inequality by providing access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities,” said Ronald de Jong, Chairman of the Philips Foundation Board. “Focusing our year-long volunteering efforts on a single global healthcare issue that disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities, created a multiplier effect, supporting ways to overcome the challenges, and ensuring long-term impact.”

Childhood pneumonia

Pneumonia in children under five was chosen as the 2018-2019 topic for Philips’ employee volunteering, due to its many casualties, and the fact that respiratory disease is one of the expert fields of Philips that the foundation can tap into. Caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infection of the lungs, childhood pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, a healthier diet and improved environmental conditions [2] – for example, better (indoor) air quality. Although bacterial pneumonia can be effectively treated with low-cost antibiotics, only a third of children receive them in time [2]. The accurate determination of rapid breathing, which is the principal early indicator of childhood pneumonia, can be achieved by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in affordable diagnostic devices.

Examples of the supported and initiated activities of the Philips Foundation over the past 12 months, conducted through global partnerships, local projects and support of social entrepreneurs, are listed below: 

  • Save the Children and ZMQ in India – VISHWAAS (Breath of Hope) project: This program is aimed at developing and proving a low-cost innovative approach in India for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood pneumonia, including an app-based solution to improve awareness of the means of prevention and care-seeking practices in affected communities. 
  • Partnership with Ashoka Fellow Hilmi Quraishi, ZMQ – the MIRA Channel project on childhood pneumonia: This project addresses the knowledge gap in childhood pneumonia through a series of short digital stories embedded in a larger ‘Maternal & Child Health’ mobile-based platform called MIRA
  • The Malaria Consortium BREATHE (Breath REcognition Aid to Health Experts) project: This study aims to assess the reliability of a video annotation tool for counting respiratory rate, which has the potential to be used as a new reference standard for measuring the performance of new automated respiratory rate diagnostic aids to support the diagnosis of pneumonia in children under five in low resource settings. 

Read more about five impact projects that received substantial support from the Philips Foundation’s volunteering program



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