Rotavirus accounts for nearly 40% of hospitalisation from diarrhoea in children. In India, it is responsible for 8,72,000 hospitalisation; and 32,70,000 outpatient visits besides about 78,000 deaths annually in under five year old children 2011-2013, according to the Nagaland Health and Family Welfare establishment.
Rotaviruses are reported to be one of the most common causes of diarrhoeal diseases among infants and young children.
Approximately 50% of rotavirus-associated deaths occur in the first year of life and about 75% occur in the first two years of life.
“Every 10 minutes an Indian child dies from rotavirus diarrhea and more than 2,000 Indian children are hospitalized for rotavirus diarrhea every day,” stated a press release from the directorate of Health & Family Welfare.
“An episode of moderate-to-serve diarrhea can increase the risk of all-cause death by 8.5 times, while hospitalization for rotavirus diarrhea costs families between INR 2,000 and INR 8,400 pushing a family into poverty.”
The immunization division of the ministry of Health and Family Welfare realises the immense public health burden, the updates stated.
Taking into consideration the high cost of vaccines, it decided to include Rotavirus Vaccine (RVV) as part of the Universal Immunization Programme in 2016 and has been expanding introduction of RVV in a phases throughout the country, the press release stated.
‘So far RVV is being administered freely under Universal Immunization Programme in 11 states of India. Till December 2018, a total of 29.26 million RVV doses have been safely administered since introduction of RVV in India,’ the updates stated.
A two-day regional training programme for trainers was organized during April 25-26 at Guwahati. The event was conducted to train state officials about RVV operations in all the north-eastern states except for Assam and Tripura where RVV was introduced in 2017, the updates stated.
Members of the department of Health and Family Welfare also attended the event. Training programmes will be conducted throughout the state in preparation for the introduction of RVV soon, the press release stated.
The press release included a quote attributed to the World Health Organization (WHO):
‘Rotavirus vaccines should be included in all national immunization programmes and considered a priority, particularly in countries with high Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE)- associated fatality rates, such as in south and south-eastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa’ – WHO 2013. – Eastern Mirror