Ethiopia administers vaccine against rotavirus


Ethiopia has started administering a vaccine against a rotavirus which leads to severe and often fatal diarrhea in children under the age of five, according to the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Administration of the vaccine is expected to protect 2.8 million children born in Ethiopia. The country has one of the highest fatality rates from rotavirus with more than 38,500 children under the age of five dying every year because of diarrhea, of which two-third of death related to the virus.
The government has deployed health extension workers across the nation to start the immunization process.  
“Providing rotavirus vaccines to our children and integrating them with appropriate diarrheal disease control interventions will further support our efforts to reduce child mortality. Ethiopia has a policy of reaching the hard-to-reach parts of the country and focusing on prevention of disease, health promotion and transferring responsibility to individual families,”  Dr. Admasu Kesetebirhan, Minister of Health said.
Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children, killing more than 450,000 children every year and hospitalizing millions more globally.
Recently it was announced that Ethiopia achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4), by reducing its under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2012, the introduction of the new vaccine will lower the death rate even more.
“Ethiopia is becoming a development leader on the African continent, the success is driven by political commitment, advances in science and technology and improvements in health, nutrition and family planning services, particularly in the rural areas,” Peter Salama, UNICEF representative in Ethiopia stated