Pakistan to introduce rotavirus vaccine for diarrhea

ISLAMABAD – In a provincial consultative meeting held at the EPI office, a comprehensive briefing on the rotavirus vaccine application was given by the EPI National Program Manager Dr Syed Saqlain Ahmed Gilani.

During the presentation, Dr Saqlain Gilani highlighted that globally 700,000 children under five die of diarrhea while rotavirus kills more than 197,000 (28 per cent) children. In Pakistan rotavirus is responsible for sever gastrointestinal infections in every 1 out of 3 children. The meeting was attended by provincial and areas EPI managers and development partners.

While presenting the main features of the rotavirus vaccine application, Dr Saqlain shared that NITAG had recommended introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 2011 and 2016. Ministry of NHSRC had also expressed country’s interest for introduction of rotavirus vaccine in NICC meeting in held in 2015.

“The government has decided to submit an application for rotavirus vaccine introduction to GAVI in May 2016”, stated Dr Saqlain during his presentation. Discussing the requirements of the rotavirus vaccine application, NPM expressed that a storage capacity analysis up to district level needed while requirement of an additional cold chain capacity from province to district level is also required.

Rotavirus disease burden and surveillance mechanism is also a need for the preparation. Development of M&E plan, HSS monitoring framework and GAVI performance framework finalization is also underway. Maintaining a balance of gender and equity and increased immunization coverage is also a requirement for the rotavirus vaccine application.

Dr Saqlain apprised the participants that a working group has been constituted to develop a comprehensive rotavirus vaccine application. The meeting agreed to inoculate 2 doses of rotavirus vaccine to a child in the Routine Immunization schedule.

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