Anambra Introduces Rotavirus Virus Vaccine In Immunization Schedule 29th Nov, 2022

Anambra State is to introduce Rotavirus vaccine in the state immunization schedule on the 29th of November, 2022.

This was disclosed during a stakeholders’ engagement meeting for Rotavirus vaccine introduction in Anambra State, organised by the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, ANSPHCDA, in collaboration with State Ministry of Health and Partners.

Rotavirus is a very contagious virus that causes diarrhoeal diseases mostly common among infants and children between 3 to 35 months of age, although older children can also get infected.

It causes severe watery diarrhoea and infected children can become dehydrated and may need to be hospitalized.

Presently, the Rota vaccine is given at the various health facilities for a fee of between N5000 to N9000, and the summation of the cost of the three doses required for the child is quite expensive, making it impossible for many parents to afford.

Speaking at the meeting, the ANSPHCDA Executive Secretary, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu explained that the event which was attended by health educators and managers in the 21 council areas of the state, members of the Civil Society, Religious Bodies, the media, among others, was to ensure ownership by the stakeholders, effective advocacy and communication.

She noted that the introduction of the vaccine in the state immunization schedule, will ensure access to the vaccine by the poor and lowly in the state and by so doing, reduce incidence of diarrhea.

“Children are expected to get 3 doses of Rota vaccines at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks, which will be available at all designated health facilities,” she said.

She harped on the need for the health managers in the various local government areas not to sell the vaccines to the people, stressing that the vaccines are free, effective and safe.

“We have received complaints that they are selling immunization vaccines at the communities especially Awka North.

“The introduction of the vaccine is to save lives by making the quite expensive vaccines free and accessible to people.

“I urge you all, the stakeholders to give this initiative the desired publicity using the relevant information dissemination outlets,” she implored.

Placid Uliagbafusi, the ANSPHCDA Head of Disease Control, revealed that the incidence of rotavirus usually becomes more rampant between December and March.

He insisted that the success of the immunization programme depends on the commitment of the stakeholders, urging them to ensure advocacy visits to other community heads and other leaders including traditional rulers and presidents-generals, as well as political leaders, to get their buy-in into the vaccine.

On his part, Mac-Fisi Kenneth, UNICEF Communication for Development, C4D Consultant in Anambra State, observed that the vaccine is not a new vaccine in Nigeria but for the PHC services, this is the first time they are introducing it.

He said the UNICEF is partnering the Federal Government on the initiative because it aligns with its goal to ensure that no preventable child-health disease is allowed to ravage the communities.

“Rotavirus causes diarrhea in children between 6 weeks to 5 years.

“It is responsible for 40 percent of diarrhea cases in Nigeria.

“With the introduction of the vaccine, we are looking to bring down the incidence of diarrhea among the children.

“The vaccine is free, safe and available. There may be side effects but the advantages far outweigh the side effects,” he assured.

He called on caregivers to avail their children the opportunity to get vaccinated against the virus

The World Health Organization, WHO Routine immunization focal person in Anambra, Mr. Valentine Obiajulu Unanba, appreciated what the stakeholders are doing in the area of social mobilization for effective vaccine uptake, while the State Health Educator, Uju Onwuegbuzina emphasized on the need for the stakeholders to work hard to address all stereotypes that may hinder the successful uptake of the rota vaccine.

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