WHO Reacts As FG Commences Routine Immunisation Against Diarrhoea

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative In Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo has commended the Federal Government for keeping immunization high on the national agenda and also for introducing Rotavirus vaccine into the Nigeria Routine Immunisation Schedule.

Mulombo made the commendation on Monday, August 22, 2022, at the flag off of the 2022 African Vaccination Week in Abuja.

He stated that the introduction of the Rotavirus Vaccine provides the opportunity to reduce the number of children dying every day from diarrhoea disease caused by rotavirus.

Speaking further, Dr. Mulombo revealed that, “public health impact of rotavirus vaccine introduction had been demonstrated in several countries with as much as 50% deaths from diarrhoeal diseases averted in some”.

Therefore, “Nigeria, being one of the 4 countries that harbor approximately half the global burden stands to have enormous gains from the economic impact of this introduction. Immunization remains the most cost-effective public health intervention”.

He further urged the country to continue to address gaps in immunisation through the life course and prevent deaths saying, “If we stop vaccination, deadly diseases will return, and when people are not vaccinated, infectious diseases that have become uncommon can quickly return”.

Also, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire explained that rotavirus was a highly contagious virus that causes severe diarrheal disease among infants and children, and had accounted for about 215, 000 deaths of the global 525, 000 infant deaths.

He explained that the new rotavirus vaccine was a great milestone in the quest for a healthy population and
confirmed that the vaccine was safe for consumption and proven to prevent diarrheal diseases caused by rotavirus.

He said the introduction of the vaccine will avert over 110,000 deaths of children under the age of five who hitherto, rarely survive up to that age due to the severe diarrheal disease.

He encouraged nursing mothers and other caregivers to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the nearest the Primary Health Care (PHC) centres to freely access the rotavirus vaccine and other vaccines that would strengthen the health and immunity of their babies.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in his remarks, explained that the introduction of rotavirus vaccine into Nigeria’s routine immunization schedule will help reduce morbidity and mortality associated with rotavirus infection amongst children under the age of five by 40 percent.

He added that increased investment in rotavirus vaccine will lead to a substantial economic impact, while reducing the associated morbidity and mortality from the rotavirus infections. “Lessons learnt from previous new vaccines’ introduction in Nigeria routine immunization schedule will guide the smooth and successful rollout of the rotavirus vaccine,” he said.

Dr. Shuaib, however, disclosed that the rotavirus vaccine is administered to babies orally on the sixth weeks, 10th weeks and 14th weeks, respectively.

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