An investment of just $12 per child may save 5.3 million children from dying as a result of pneumonia in developing countries by 2015, according to the UN.

Pneumonia kills 18 million children under the age of five annually but relatively few resources are put into addressing the issue, according to the World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund.

A joint appeal has been made by the two organisations to fund a six-year plan for pneumonia prevention and treatment in 68 developing countries, mostly in Africa and Asia as well as parts of Central and South America, where the disease is prevalent, according to Reuters.

The proposal includes preventing children from contracting pneumonia with vaccinations against measles, Hib, pneumococcus and rotavirus, and by preventing and treating HIV in children.

The plan also includes treating children who have contracted pneumonia with antibiotics and medical care in health centres and hospitals.

If the goals set by the plan are achieved, child pneumonia deaths could be cut by 65% and the number of severe pneumonia cases by 25% compared to the 2000 levels, the UN said.