Passing stool or pooing often can kill literally. This is the case for thousands of children under the age of 5 who die from diarrhea every year. Attending to nature’s call daily is healthy, however problems arise when it becomes too watery and happens too frequently. rotavirus vaccine, Excessive loss of fluids and other essential minerals harm the body’s ability to function well.

What does the newly introduced rotavirus vaccine mean for Nigerian children

According to a UNICEF report 1,300 children yet to celebrate their fifth birthday, die from diarrhea every day, accounting for approximately 9% of all infant mortality cases. In Sub-Saharan Africa, these figures are worse. In West Africa, specifically Nigeria, diarrhea is the second topmost cause of child death largely due to poor hygienic and sanitary practices. Standing at 18.8%, this child killer is twice as prevalent in Nigeria as compared with global figures. The alarming and incredibly sad aspect of diarrhea related child deaths is that a readily available preventive solution exists and for almost two decades. The rotavirus, one of the deadliest diarrhea causing-agents, is responsible for over 40% of diarrhea cases in Nigerian children and accounts for 14% of total global rotavirus related deaths. Fortunately, a rotavirus vaccine exist that protects against diarrheal diseases. If this preventive solution has been around for so long, why is diarrhea still a menace? A few reasons include the fact that the rotavirus vaccine was not included in some country’s national routine immunization program such as Nigeria – not until August 2022. Although the vaccine has been available in private hospitals at a fee, many parents in high-risk communities are unable to afford it, miss doses, or stay away altogether due to a mistrust and fear of vaccines. This is the case in some other countries.

In 2017, the WHO urged all countries, particularly those with high diarrhea mortality rates in children, such as Nigeria, to introduce rotavirus vaccines into their immunization programs. Thankfully in August 2022, Nigeria’s federal government, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) introduced the rotavirus vaccine into the national routine immunization schedule. According to a mapping by the ROTA Council, Nigeria is among 79% of African countries (including Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Ethiopia) and 115 countries worldwide who have introduced the rotavirus vaccines into their national routine immunization schedule. This was a lifesaving saving event capable of averting about 50,000 deaths of Nigerian children yearly, according to a report by the WHO African office. Also, researchers have reported about 59% reduction in hospitalization due to rotavirus and 36% reduction in diarrheal hospitalization and deaths in children under 5 years among over 100 countries that have introduced the rotavirus vaccine. The rotavirus vaccine introduction into the routine immunization schedule in Nigeria means that the vaccine is available at no cost in public health facilities for infants aged 6, 10 and 14 weeks. At some private hospitals across the country, it was discovered that parents pay about 20,000 naira (or 47 US dollars) for just one of the three required doses of the vaccine. Children whose parents could not afford to pay, likely paid with their lives in a country where over 40% of the population (about 82 million people) are poor (live on less than 12,000 naira monthly or 28 US dollars).

Source: This news is originally published by africa

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