National Rotavirus immunization programme calls all hands on deck


The Ministry of Health and Sports launched a Rotavirus vaccination campaign with its National Immunization Programme yesterday.
Rotavirus is a common cause of severe diarrhoea among children under five years old and is responsible for about one-third of the cases of hospitalized children in the country, health officials said during a recent panel discussion.
The launching ceremony was held yesterday in Hlinethaya Township, which is populated with people from different parts of the country who are at risk of viral infection due to its dense population.
The Rotavirus vaccine, along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplements, will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.
The government was also committed to increasing the full immunization coverage and ensuring that the benefit of life-saving vaccines was provided to every child.
Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccinations. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures, such as good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplements.
In Myanmar, one-fourth of the diarrhoea cases in children are caused by the virus, and also contaminated water was a major cause of outbreaks, common in the rainy season in heavily populated areas, such as Ayeyawady, Mandalay and Yangon regions. Diarrhoea remains a major health problem in the country.
The [rotavirus] vaccine is effective at protecting between 40 and 60 percent of severe cases and has become the 12th vaccine for children.
To prevent cervical cancer, the health ministry is also planning to offer the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine as the 13th vaccine to girls aged 9 and 10 in July or August this year.
To achieve success in the national immunization programme, parents are obliged to bring their children to health centres for vaccinations and policy makers are urged to prepare for increased participation of health organizations, families, media and institutional leaders in the programmes.The national immunization programme calls for all hands on deck to ensure the vaccination coverage rate can be increased to the full per percent in order to protect children from preventable diseases.
To achieve success, the immunization campaign needs to not only include the planning processes, but also the battle against disinformation and misconceptions about the safety of vaccinations.

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