News / Africa

Rotavirus Vaccine Arrives in Rwanda

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)
x
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI Alliance (Photo: GAVI)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
More than 3,000 Rwandan children die every year from diarrhea. But health officials say that’s about to change with the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. Rwanda is the latest in a growing number of African countries to receive the vaccine.

De Capua report on rotaviruis vaccine
De Capua report on rotaviruis vaccinei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


It’s estimated that worldwide more than 1200 children die each day from rotavirus infection. Almost all of them are in developing countries.

“Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea. In fact, in Africa, 40 percent of children who are hospitalized for diarrhea have rotavirus. And therefore it’s a major killer causing a lot of the child mortality that still exists on the continent,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, a Geneva-based public-private health partnership.

“Rwanda of course is a country that has enormous attention to public health. It’s done a very good job. They have an immunization rate that’s greater than 95 percent. But they still have children that die of diarrhea and particularly rotavirus. The expectation is that about 3,500 Rwandan children die every year from rotavirus diseases, accounting for close to 10 percent of all the under 5 deaths,” he said.

Berkley said virtually all of those deaths can be prevented.

“We’re in the process of trying to get this out to all of the countries. So since 2006, 28 GAVI eligible countries have been approved to receive it. And so we’re trying to scale-up even more than that although obviously it takes time to get it out to all the countries and some are more prepared than others,” he said.

Asked whether parents in developing countries have expressed fear over the vaccine, he said there’s actually more hesitancy in developed nations.

“Parents don’t remember what these diseases are like and they think we don’t want to take any risk with our children, you know, maybe we’ll just skip them,” he said.

He said parents in developing countries have a much different prospective that comes from first-hand experience.

“The interesting thing of course in these countries everybody sees these diseases around them all the time. They’ve lost relatives to these diseases, friends, family members and so when these vaccines rollout in these countries there tends to be an enormous demand from the population for them,” he said.

Berkley is the founder and former head of IAVI, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. He said he foresees the day when an HIV vaccine will become part of routine immunizations.

“Absolutely, and in fact it probably won’t start as childhood immunizations. I suspect as soon as a vaccine is available – and obviously it can’t be soon enough – we expect it’ll start I n high-risk groups and then in adolescents,” he said.

The second biggest killer of children under 5 is pneumonia. Berkley says pneumococcal vaccine is rolling out even faster than the rotavirus vaccine. Rwanda has already made it part of its immunization program and was one of the first developing countries to do so.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid