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)
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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid