PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Health Pauline McNeil has acknowledged health workers for the successful completion of the Rotavirus vaccine rollout program across all provinces including Honiara.
The rollout was said to involve intensive training of health workers, capacity building especially the administration of the rotavirus vaccines to infants as well as its safe storage to prevent spoilage and wastage, and also followed with the distribution of the vaccines to health facilities across the country.
“I’d like to thank each and every one of Ministry of Health and Medical Service (MHMS) staff and the provincial health workers who have committed to making the roll out a successful one especially at this trying times when the Ministry is also prioritizing containment of Covid-19 that is now in the country,” she said.
She also sincerely thanked partners, GAVI (International Organization established to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries), UNICEF, and WHO for financial and technical support.
She said without their assistance, we would not have reached where we are today with the vaccine.
It was reported that the rotavirus was first detected in the country in 2014 during the diarrhea outbreak along the Guadalcanal plains and Honiara in the aftermath of the April flash floods.
From then, it has cost 27 lives most of whom were infants and young children with over 6 thousand cases of severe diarrhea and dehydration reported across the country.
Throughout the globe, Rotavirus is said to have responsible for over 215 thousand deaths annually amongst infants and young children.
MHMS however cautioned that the vaccine only prevents diarrhea that is caused by rotaviruses, which constitute 40 percent of all diarrhea cases. As such, diarrheas caused by other factors will continue to occur so it is important that efforts to promote and continue with breastfeeding, hand washing, good food preparation practices, improved water, and sanitation must continue.
By FOLLET JOHN