Accelerating Africa's access to rotavirus vaccine

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Sudan's introduction of rotavirus vaccine earlier this year signalled the start of a wave of African countries ready to counter the world's leading cause of diarrhoeal deaths with GAVI support. In September, the Alliance approved funding for 12 more African countries to introduce the rotavirus vaccine.

27 September 2011

From recommendation to rollout in two years
Waiting for protection
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011
In Sierra Leone, doctors saved the life of Aisha Kamara’s son Abdul, after he contracted severe diarrhoea.  Other African children are not so lucky. One quarter of a million of Africa’s under-fives die from severe diarrhoea each year.
Waiting for protection2
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011

At Baruka village, 40 km outside Khartoum, Howa Hasa Al Rasul watches as a doctor prepares to administer the vaccine that will help protect her daughter Fatima Adil from a disease that causes 40% of all severe diarrhoea cases in Sudan.

Deadly risks of rotavirus disease
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011
At the Samir health centre in Sudan's capital Khartoum, this baby was one of the first of tens of thousands of children to receive rotavirus vaccine.
Two doses in two months
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011
With 1850 health centres spread across thousands of square kilometers, Sudan has trained scores of doctors and nurses to ensure rotavirus vaccine is administered correctly. The vaccine needs to be delivered orally according to a strict schedule. 
Signs of progress
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011
At Baruka Village, Raja Ali Khider watches as health officials register her two-month-old daughter Zuhir Noran’s rotavirus vaccination. Each vaccine delivered is recorded on immunisation cards to facilitate monitoring.  
More than one country

In September 2011, GAVI approved funding to support the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 16 more countries, 12 of them in Africa: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda & Tanzania.

Tanzania no time to lose
Doune Porter/GAVI/2011
In Tanzania, preparations are already under way for a vaccine that cannot come quick enough. During the rainy season patients at the Mwananyamala Hospital in Dar-e-Salaam are squeezed three to a bed due to severe diarrhoea outbreaks. 
New links in the cold chain
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011

Tanzania’s cold chain, which ensures that the rotavirus vaccine is kept at a constant temperature from storage in Dar-es-Salaam to distribution in even the remotest province, has been expanded and upgraded. 

Children in need
Ryan Youngblood/GAVI/2011
Health workers are already alerting local communities that children will need the new vaccine. “We are educating our pregnant women, couples and, if necessary, entire villages,” says Sister Moshi Athumani at Mnazi Mmoja clinic. 
Appreciating value of vaccination
Doune Porter/GAVI/2011
Delivering rotavirus vaccine in Africa will cause a ripple effect that runs from the smallest village to entire economies. Healthy children go to school. Families can be more productive. Communities and societies are more prosperous. 
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