By Suoyo Ekubo
The Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board (RSPHCMB) has Commenced Rotavirus vaccine immunization program in the State.
At a press conference held on the 22 November 2022, the RSPHCMB highlighted the importance and need for caregivers and mothers to vaccinate their eligible children against the Rotavirus.
Rotavirus is a very contagious virus that causes diarrhoeal diseases in children. The virus spread easily among infants and Young children and can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.
Children 6 weeks to 1 year are eligible to get the rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus from the stool of an infected child can be spread from hand-to-mouth after touching an object that has a small amount of infection. The rota vaccine is best way to protect your child against diarrhoeal diseases. Most children who get the vaccine will be protected from severe diarrhoeal caused by rotavirus. About 9 out of 10 children will be protected from rotavirus disease of any severity.
In her speech at the press conference held at the RSPHCMB, the State Health Educator RSPHCMB Dr Babbo Diana, “said we are here for one reason and one reason only. We are launching the rota virus immunization into our routine immunization as a state. It started yesterday 21th of November 2022 in our facilities, we have already began to administer the vaccine to our children. Children 6weeks to 1year are eligible to take this vaccine and its prevents diarrhoeal diseases in this age group of children.”
The representative of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency Abuja Dr Ahmed Rufai Garba, while highlighting some of the dangers of the rotavirus stated that “The rota virus is responsible for over 500,000 deaths in under 5 children as a result of diarhoeal diseases.That figure is a really scary figure. So today is an opportunity for us to put this vaccine out for easy access to children. This vaccine in the private facilities is very expensive. Today the government of Nigeria is providing it free for every child that is eligible. My message out there is for mothers to bring their children that are below 2years to go to our health facilities to vaccinate their eligible children. The vaccine is safe and it is effective.”
On his part, the representative of WHO Dr Richard Koko, expressed his delight for the rota vaccine immunization in Rivers State.
He said, “We are delighted to be here as Rivers state roll out the Rotavirus vaccine into its routine immunization program. We understand the importance of doing this that the resultant of reducing the diseases, the mortality and mobility will be prevented by introducing the Rota virus vaccine into the routine immunization schedule here in Rivers state. We clearly understand the benefits of this investment and we know that in doing so we will reduce diarrhoeal diseases caused by the rotavirus.
“And in most instances when this has been introduced up to 50% of death from rota viruses have been reduced. It is a good investment and we want to really say that the Rivers State government is going in the right direction in doing so. We also know that most of the rotavirus embodiment are most largely in four countries including Nigeria. So in doing so we believe that this will really reduce the mobility and mortality caused by the rotavirus.
“Immunization remains the most cost effective intervention and not only for Introducing rotavirus vaccine. We hope that this will also propel immunization in such a manner that other vaccine preventable diseases will be reduced,” he concluded.
Dr Koko, also commended the Rivers State government for putting immunization program high on its agenda and taking issues of immunization seriously.
Also speaking, the representative of UNICEF Dr Patrick Akor, also commended the Rivers state government for introducing the rota vaccine immunization in the state.
He also said, “diarrhoeal accounts for 15% of under 5 mortality in Nigeria with the rate of 18.8% on average of 200,000 children at the age of 5 die annually from diarrhoeal diseases. So it is important that we need to have this vaccine roll out in Rivers state and this will support the aspect of reducing mortality and mobility rate in the country.”