UNICEF and WHO report raises alarm about diarrhoea threat to child health

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GAVI welcomes the publication of "Diarrhoea: Why Children Are Still Dying and What Can Be Done"

Geneva, 15 October 2009- The GAVI Alliance applauds the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for sounding the alarm about a deadly yet neglected scourge with today's publication of a new joint report, Diarrhoea: Why Children Are Still Dying and What Can Be Done 

The consequences of inaction are dire, with the report warning that 1.5 million children die of diarrhoeal diseases every year.

Simple and cost-effective solutions for controlling diarrhoea exist, but collective efforts are needed to bring them to the communities that suffer most. Earlier this year, WHO recommended that rotavirus vaccination be included in all national immunisation programmes.


By coordinating rotavirus vaccine introduction with re-prioritisation of proven interventions, countries can achieve a remarkable impact on child survival. Likewise, the efforts of global partners must too be coordinated, to ensure that diarrhoeal disease receives attention and commitment relevant to its staggering impact.

Rotavirus vaccines to prevent the leading cause of severe diarrhoeal disease are an important advancement and an opportunity to re-invigorate conversations at national and international levels.

GAVI initiative

GAVI's recently launched Accelerated Vaccine Introduction initiative aims to support the delivery of rotavirus vaccine to 63 million children by 2015 (Source: GAVI Rota Strategic Demand Forecast V.0)

Increasing access to both rotavirus vaccines and other diarrhoeal disease interventions will not only help stem the tide of countless child deaths, but also accelerate progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

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