Rotavirus vaccines introduced in health centres in Yemen

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During the month of Ramadan, health centres in Yemen are packed with families who have come to get their children vaccinated against rotavirus, the leading cause of death due to diarrhoea. On 1 August 2012, the government of Yemen introduced the rotavirus vaccines in its routine immunisation programme to prevent thousands of children’s deaths from severe diarrhoea.

20 August 2012

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Families arrive early at health centres in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, as they know they will be crowded. They have all seen on TV the official campaign launched by the government, which informs them of the benefits of immunisation against rotavirus, the most severe cause of diarrhoea.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

The government aims to reach the 1 million children born in the country each year as only vaccines can prevent this deadly disease. Fathers and mothers are excited to bring their children to the health centres so they can receive this life-saving vaccine. In the waiting room of Al-Zahrawi Health Centre, they discuss this new vaccine while waiting to be called by the health workers.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Dr. Tawfeek Al-Amari is in charge of vaccination in Al-Zahrawi Health centre. He vaccinates the children aged between 45 days and 3 years and a half against rotavirus. During Ramadan, the health centres are opened in two shifts, one in the morning and the other one at night.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Each day around 100 children are vaccinated in Al-Zahrawi Health Centre. It is much more than usual therefore Al-Zahrawi Health Centre has extended its opening hours.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

At Al-Rawdah Health Centre, 200 children get vaccinated against rotavirus every Sunday and Wednesday. The health centre is located close to an important market and families bring their children after their shopping.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Dr. Boshra Abu Taleb vaccinates a child and explains to the mothers the importance of vaccination to protect their children’s health against deadly diseases. Rotavirus is the leading cause of death due to diarrhoea. In Yemen, diarrhoea accounts for 11% of under-five deaths.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Children aged six months to two years are the most vulnerable to rotavirus infection. Yemen is the first GAVI-eligible country in the Middle East region to introduce the rotavirus vaccines.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

The introduction of rotavirus vaccines takes place 18 months after the country introduced pneumococcal vaccines against the main cause of pneumonia.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Yemen has one of the highest rates of under-five mortality in the world, at 77 deaths per 1 000 live births compared to 41 deaths per 1 000 live births for the whole of the Middle East and North Africa region. It is also the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Vaccines would not reach children without the critical work of ministries of health in GAVI-eligible countries, which roll out the vaccines. By rapidly scaling up immunisation efforts, GAVI and its partners can improve child health and protect millions of lives.

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Amira Al-Sharif/GAVI/2012

Owsaf Hashed Ali leaves the Al-Olofi Health Centre with her mother. She has just been vaccinated against rotavirus. 

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