Zambia begins administrering vaccine against diarrhoea for children under the age of five

Daily Mail of Zambia – A vaccine against diarrhoea for children under the age of five has been introduced in Zambia. The vaccine, rotavirus, will be administered by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia and Absolute Return for Kids under the auspices of the Programme for Awareness and Elimination of Diarrhoea (PAED) over a period of three years. About 84,000 infants have been targeted for vaccination by the end of this year in Lusaka alone, while more than 700,000 children will be vaccinated countrywide by 2015. About 40 children under the age of five in Zambia die from diarrhoea every day.

In Zambia, diarrhoea is the 3rd leading cause of clinic visits and death for children under-5 years of age, after pneumonia and malaria. Every year, at least 15,000 of Zambia’s 2.4 million children under-5 will die due to diarrhoea, and about a quarter to a third of these deaths are attributed to rotavirus, which is vaccine preventable.

Community-based education through lay staff, community outreach workers and drama groups will sensitise the community on the importance of vaccination, hand washing, the use of ORS and zinc, exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months and to educate families to bring children to clinic early during the course of diarrhoeal illness.

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