Posted March 13, 2017 4:41 pm by Comments

Lagos state becomes the first state to introduce the rotavirus vaccine for immunisation of children against diarrhoea in Nigeria following the inauguration of a multi-sectoral Technical Working Group recently by Save the Children, an international humanitarian and development organisation with focus on child development, to work out modalities for the introduction of the vaccine in Shomolu Local Government, in June.

Rotavirus vaccine is one of the new vaccines to be introduced into the nation’s immunisation schedule in phases commencing in 2018. It is being introduced in Shomolu LGA in Lagos in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Lagos Ministry of Health.

A statement by Save The Children described the pilot scheme for the introduction of the vaccine in Nigeria as part of its ‘Stop Diarrhoea Initiative’ (SDI), a four-year project being implemented in collaboration with the Lagos State government with support from Reckitt Benckiser.

“The SDI programme employs the WHO/UNICEF recommended 7-point plan, which is a comprehensive approach including both treatment and prevention of diarrhoea. The objective of this project is to reduce by 50% the prevalence of diarrhoea amongst children under the age of five years in Shomolu local government area by demonstrating the efficacy of the WHO/UNICEF’s 7-point plan for the prevention and management of diarrhoea among under-5 children.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all countries, particularly those with high diarrhoea mortality rates in children should introduce the rotavirus vaccines into their immunisation programs. According to the statement from Save The Children, countries that have implemented the vaccine have documented a ‘tremendous impact on severe diarrhoea and rotavirus disease requiring hospitalization with some countries documenting substantial decreases of 22% – 50% in diarrhoea mortality among children under 5 years of age following vaccine introduction.
“Introduction of rotavirus immunisation in conjunction with the other elements of the WHO/UNICEF plan would therefore be expected to have a significant impact on the prevalence of diarrhoea in the target LGA,” the statement further said.

The new technical working group is expected to coordinate the implementation of the roll out of the rotavirus vaccine in Shomolu.

The group is expected to document the experience of the pilot scheme and help facilitate the nationwide introduction of the vaccine next year.

It is estimated that Nigeria loses about 1.8 million children under five of age from diarrhoeal diseases, which is one of the leading causes of child mortality. Lagos State is reportedly the second highest contributor to diarrhoea in the South west zone of Nigeria with a prevalence of 7.5% after Oyo state which has a prevalence rate of 9.2%. According to Save The Children, this translates to 315,000 children with diarrhoea on annual basis.

“Lagos State has been chosen for the implementation of this Signature Programme and though it is the smallest in the country in terms of land mass, it is the most populous with an estimated population of 21 million people, roughly 12.5% of the national population.

“In the 2014 baseline survey for the SDI project, diarrhoea prevalence in Shomolu LGA was found to be 7.3% reducing to 4.5% after the first year of implementation of the SDI intervention (however, excluding administration of the rotavirus vaccine).
“The target population of infants aged under one in Shomolu for routine immunisation is 23,000 with an annual birth rate of 4%. This equates to a total population in Shomolu LGA of approximately 600,008,” the Save The children statement further said.

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