Are we Ready for Rotavirus Vaccine?

When my nieces get sick, I'm one of the family members who get so nervous. Asked my parents and relatives, they know that I don't like knowing my nieces get sick. It sickens me to know that our little angels are unhappy and unhealthy. And if it sickens me that my nieces are sick, what more to their parents? What more to the other parents who are personally taking good care of their children? I can't blame them if they get angry to the doctors or nurses who act normal during those crucial times.

Last week, I was invited to a small gathering where doctors from GlaxoSmithKline Philippines exposed the alarming death toll caused by one of the common ailments that children get - DIARRHEA.

According to the report presented to us by Dr. Salvacion Gatchalian, Director, Clinical R & D and Medical Affairs for GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, the Philippines diarrhea deaths accounts to 12% among children whose ages are 5 and below. An about 13 children a day die because of this deadly ailment.

She also stated that in the Philippines and worldwide, diarrhea is the second leading killer of children. And every day, there are about 1,500 children around the globe suffer and die due to these rotavirus-related diarrhea, a suffering that could have been averted if the governments and families will just take action on its commitment on saving the  lives of these children.

During the small gathering, which was held at the Mango Tree Bistro in Trinoma, with a Chinese New Year theme (which, I personally find so awfully off, btw), more facts and figures were presented to us about this devastating news. But of course, GlaxoSmithKline didn't leave us with that bad news.

In line with the Chinese New Year celebration that they prepared for us that night, they imparted to us GlaxoSmithKline Philippines' share in helping the government to resolve this issue. And by that, they shared to us the Rotavirus vaccination.

Rotavirus vaccination is part of the Expanded Program for Immunization of the Department of Health, which is aligned to President Noy-noy Aquino's Universal Health Care Program. It aims to lessen the number of children dying because of this rotavirus-related diarrhea and the infant immortality rate, which is part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations.

Rotavirus vaccine is also recommended by the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) to be included in all national immunization programs, particularly in countries where diarrhea deaths accounts for more than 10% of deaths in children younger than 5 years. And that sad 12% record from the Philippines simply calls out for this program to be implemented soon.

GlaxoSmithKline seeks everyone's help to let this one be a wake up call to us. Diarrhea is not just some trivial inconvenience, it is the world's second leading killer of children. And now that there's Rotavirus vaccine available, let us save the lives of our children, of our future generation.

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