Afghanistan | News | Afghanistan introduces rotavirus vaccine to protect infants and young children against severe diarrhoea

Afghanistan introduces rotavirus vaccine to protect infants and young children against severe diarrhoea

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Min_Feroz_vaccinating_first_childAt the launch ceremony, Minister of Public Health, H.E. Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz delivered the first dose of the vaccine to a child

KABUL, Afghanistan, 27 January 2018 – The Government of Afghanistan today introduced rotavirus vaccine to prevent the spread of rotavirus, the most common cause of severe and fatal diarrhoea among infants and young children throughout the world. 

The vaccine, which will be available for free in health facilities throughout the country, is the tenth vaccine to be introduced into the national schedule of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). It is administered in 2 oral doses for children at 6 and 10 weeks of age.

At the launch ceremony in Kabul, attended by representatives of WHO and UNICEF representatives, Minister of Public Health, H.E. Dr Ferozuddin Feroz, described the new vaccine as ‘life-saving’. “Adding rotavirus vaccine to our immunization schedule will have a tremendous impact on child health. As we introduce this vaccine, we welcome the ongoing support of our partners who are working with the Ministry of Public Health to improve the lives of children in Afghanistan.”

Speaking at the event, WHO Representative in Afghanistan Dr Richard Peeperkorn said, “Rotavirus takes the lives of around 4000–5000 Afghan children under the age of 5 each year. The introduction of the rotavirus vaccine will help Afghanistan consolidate its gains in reducing infant mortality and ending preventable child deaths.”

In her remarks, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Ms Adele Khodr, said “The death toll from rotavirus infections in the developing world is enormous, it infects nearly every child in this country before the age of 5. In Afghanistan, rotavirus vaccination coupled with hand washing with soap, drinking potable water and using latrines, has the potential to avert more than one million diarrhoea cases, 660 000 outpatient visits and approximately 50 000 hospital admissions over a period of 10 years.”

Afghanistan reports more than 100 000 cases of diarrhoea annually, with 40–45% related to rotavirus.

To ensure the continuous availability of rotavirus vaccine across the country, UNICEF is supporting Afghanistan’s national EPI to utilize ‘Visibility for Vaccines’ (ViVa) an online tool developed by WHO and UNICEF for vaccine supply chain management.

For more information, contact:

Ministry of Public Health

Dr Nazary, National EPI Manager
Mobile: 0797223009
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

WHO

Tuuli Hongisto
WHO Afghanistan
Mobile +93 (0) 78 220 0354
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Abdul Shakoor
WHO Afghanistan
Mobile + 93 (0) 70 002 5888
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UNICEF

Denise Shepherd-Johnson
UNICEF Afghanistan
Mobile: +93 (0) 730 71 7110
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Feridoon Aryan
UNICEF Afghanistan
Mobile: +93 (0) 730 717 115
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Key health-related statistics

Population (m) 31,5
Health expenditure (% of GDP) 9.5
Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) 34.3
Life expectancy at birth F/M (2010) 62-64

Sources: Central Statistics office, Afghanistan National health Accounts, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, Afghanistan mortality survey. 

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