By Kemi Olatunde
Ondo State Government will soon roll out ROTA Vaccines to protect children against diarrhea diseases.
To this end, Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA) sensitised stakeholders on ROTA virus vaccine introduction into the routine immunisation (RI) in Akure.
In his welcome remarks, Permanent Secretary of the Agency, Dr. Francis Akanbiemu who was represented by Director Community Health and Education, Dr. Samuel Abiona expressed appreciation to stakeholders for their support for PHC activities.
According to him, there is an estimated two million OPD visit with more than two million deaths for diarrhoeal diseases globally, noting that the new vaccine is effective, safe and free to combat the diarrhoeal diseases.
He described Rotavirus as a very contagious virus which causes diarrhoeal diseases in children, stating that it spreads easily among infants and young children causing severe diarrhoea (watery stool), vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.
He explained that the disease is a problem as any child that comes down with it becomes dehydrated and hospitalized, adding that it can be spread from an infected child from hand to mouth after touching an object which has a small amount of stool.
He called on mothers and caregivers to present their children for the vaccination of three separate doses on commencement in the state, adding that they should also embrace personal hygiene and good nutrition for children.
Giving an overview, State Immunisation Officer, Mrs Comfort Oladunjoye stated that there is no treatment for Rotavirus disease as with some other viral illness, noting that diarrhea from the virus can’t be treated with antibiotics or other drugs saying ” it can only be prevented by prior administration of the Rotavirus vaccine.”
She said that it will be introduced into the routine immunisation and will be given in three doses; six weeks, ten weeks and fourteen weeks with five drops of the vaccine at each dose.
She said that for the purpose of the introduction, children who are up to 23 months have the opportunity of receiving it stating that it is for children between the age of six weeks and two years.
She explained that there will be 28 days interval for those who received months of routine immunisation in order to have them protected and covered.
According to her, Rotavirus disease can be prevented through prior administration of the vaccine, Vitamin A supplement, promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding, safe drinking water and good hygiene especially hand washing with soap.
State Mobilisation Officer, Mrs Yetunde Akinyosoye said that it will be for children within the range of 0 and 23 months, adding that the Agency will embark on routine immunisation intensification programme for them.
While stating that the vaccine is already in the state, she said that it will be available for vaccination after it is being flagged off adding that it will be available in health facilities and outreach posts across the state.
She urged stakeholders to play their role of sensitising residents on it so as to prevent untimely death of the state’s future leaders.
Representative of the National Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mr. Dickson Ayeni commended Ondo State for taking the lead in immunisation, calling on all to support government in ensuring the preservation of lives of children.
Responding, Chief Imam of Gaga community, Akure, Alh. Yusuf Agbesinga stressed the need for stakeholders to live up to expectations in sensitising residents on the new vaccine.