THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) yesterday launched the Rota Virus Vaccine (RVV) program at White River Clinic, West Honiara.
Speaking during the RVV official launching, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Mrs. Pauline McNeil said that the launch marked yet another milestone in the history of immunization in the Solomon Islands.
“Rota Virus is the common cause of diarrhea, admissions, and deaths across the world. In the Solomon Islands, according to our District Health Information System, every year more than 1000 children are hospitalized with diarrhea.
“This Rota Virus is responsible for the diarrhea outbreak along Guadalcanal plains in early 2014 and across the country following the April flash floods the same year. We’ve lost 27 lives who are mostly children with over 6000 cases reported across the country then.
“The launch of the Rota Virus vaccine today gives us an opportunity to prevent such unfortunate events from occurring again,” said McNeil.
Mrs McNeil then explained the vaccine is safe and it has shown to reduce diarrhoeal diseases and related complications in many countries. The vaccine is administered to children at 6 weeks and second dosage at 10 weeks old.
With that, she extends her appreciation to mothers who were present yesterday, with their 6 weeks old babies for postnatal clinic and have their babies vaccinated with the vaccine.
“The vaccine will go a long way in preserving the health of our babies from diarrhea and other related complications caused by Rotavirus.
“Broadly I wish to state that immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in our country. Immunization has protected the future of this country (children) from 9 vaccine-preventable diseases.”
She added with the achieved milestone in immunization in the past years, let’s not forget about the basic health measures that are still relevant today and continue to practice them.
“These include hand washing after using the toilet or before eating, coughing and sneezing into your bent elbow or through a handkerchief, handling and preparing foods safely, cleaning and disinfecting commonly used surfaces to name a few. These public health measures should and MUST become the norm and common daily practice at home, at school, and at your workplaces,” McNeil stated.
McNeil then thanked our developing partners, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for their effort in the past 4 years to make the RVV program possible.
A mother, Feirlie Kwakwala yesterday said that she was glad that her baby was vaccinated with RVV.
“The importance of the vaccine is to keep babies from diarrhea. However, it does not mean that by receiving the vaccine today our babies will not have diarrhea, but it is us mothers and even fathers to keep our children in a clean and healthy environment from diarrhea,” said Feirlie.