The introduction of the rotavirus vaccine into Nigeria’s routine immunization programme last year was projected to have the potential to avert more than 110,000 deaths over a ten year period.
Due to this, public health experts are meeting at the fourteenth African rotavirus symposium to discuss the progress of this projection, and future perspectives for the rotavirus vaccine switch in African countries.
It is estimated to be responsible for about half of all acute diarrhea infections that require admission to hospital in children under the age of five.
Rotavirus remains one of the most contagious, sometimes deadliest virus among infants and young children.
The highest rates of rotavirus associated mortality in children under the age of five are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nigeria has the second highest number of rotavirus deaths in the world, with about 50,000 fatalities every year making up14 percent of the total global burden of deaths.
Over the course of this three day event at the 14th African rotavirus symposium experts will be exploring the effectiveness of the vaccine implementation in Nigeria’s routine immunization program and Africa,
They will also examine the public health impact as well as how to strengthen regional collaboration for surveillance across the continent.
38 out of 47 countries in the African region including Nigeria have introduced and integrated the rotavirus vaccine into their routine vaccination programme.
The rotavirus vaccine takes the form of oral drops and is administered to infants at 6, 10 and 14 weeks alongside other routine vaccines during immunization.