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Uganda Launches New Vaccine To Protect Children From Diarrhea

The United Nations and other agencies in Uganda have hailed the country for including rotavirus vaccine in efforts in a bid to protect children five years and younger from deadly diarrhea.

Rotavirus diarrhea accounts for almost 40 percent of diarrheal cases in Uganda and an estimated over 10,000 children below 5 years of age die each year, according to the ministry of health.

With support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi and Vaccine Alliance, Uganda on Tuesday announced the inclusion of the rotavirus vaccine in its national immunization program.

Doreen Mulenga, the UNICEF representative said Uganda was making progress in securing children’s health by introducing the vaccine into its national immunization program.

Mulenga called upon parents, guardians and caregivers to ensure that all infants are immunized against rotavirus, noting that vaccination is one of the best ways to protect children from serious childhood diseases.

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Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam, WHO Country representative, said the use of the vaccine should be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhea diseases with the scaling up of both prevention and treatment packages.

Anuradha Gupta, deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, said the vaccine will help save the lives of thousands of children in Uganda by combating severe diarrhea.

“The introduction of rotavirus vaccine marks a key milestone in the country’s commitment to improve the health of all children and I would like to commend the government for its efforts to provide a bright future for Uganda’s next generation,” Gupta said.

Speaking at the launch of the vaccine, Ruth Aceng, minister of health said the vaccine is free of charge and that children at 6 weeks and 10 weeks of age should be taken to the nearest health facilities for immunization.

She said government is committed to fighting against vaccine preventable diseases and accelerate reduction in child morbidity and mortality.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who launched the vaccine said the rotavirus vaccine was one of the additional ways of ensuring the country’s children are free from infection.

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Written by PH

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