New vaccine to protect Kiribati children from deadly virus
There have been several diarrhea outbreaks in Kiribati over the last five years. These illnesses, many of which are connected to rotavirus, require hospitalization. Many children under the age of five have died from the disease.
The Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services recently announced that the new vaccine has been introduced as part of its routine vaccination schedule. Now the vaccine is part of the nation’s comprehensive child survival package.
“Rotavirus affects nearly every child under the age of five years and globally is the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhoea in infants,” UNICEF Pacific Representative Dr. Karen Allen said. “Introducing this vaccine will help to reduce the number of children in Kiribati dying from preventable illness.”
Now, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the vaccine will be used to help protect children against severe and potentially deadly diarrhea. Cases of infants have been reported throughout Kiribati’s provinces.
“UNICEF will provide technical and financial support to the Kiribati Government for the next three years to strengthen links between immunisation, especially the rotavirus vaccine, and existing programmes focused on nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene,” Allen said.