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DHA mulls introduction of rota virus vaccine

Dubai, February 13, 2012

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently held a workshop to discuss the burden of Rota virus gastroenteritis and the introduction of a new vaccine into the national immunization schedule.

The workshop was organised by the Public Health and Safety department within Health Policy and Strategy sector at the DHA.

Addressing the gathering, Laila Al Jassmi, the CEO of Health Policy and Strategy at the DHA said, 'Immunization, together with improvements in hygiene and sanitation, has revolutionized child health in countries throughout the world, preventing millions of deaths every year in addition to reducing the risk of disability caused by infectious diseases.'

Al Jassmi pointed out that the recommendation obtained from the workshop was in line with the Dubai Health Strategy 2011-2013 that advocates the need to focus on vaccine-preventable diseases and pays significant emphasis on the need to constantly update public health issues.

'It outlines what needs to be done for preventing Rota Virus diseases and to develop a document that offers a framework within which national policies, programs and action plans can be elaborated,' she stated.

'This will include introduction of new vaccines with an aim to keep up with changing times so that we protect our children and youth from all vaccine preventable diseases, she added.

Dr Aizeldin Ibrahim, the acting director of Public Health and Safety Department, DHA said the workshop discussed the burden of one of the common public health problems, the Rota Virus disease.

According to him, Rota Virus disease was the leading cause of severe diarrhea and vomiting in children.

'There are many studies that confirm the substantial health burden of severe rotavirus disease among children resulting in significant morbidity, mortality, and costs in the Mena,' Dr Ibrahim explained.

This will support the increasing need for an effective Rota Virus vaccination as primary public health intervention to reduce the burden of the disease in our region, he added.

Dr Ibrahim said the experts were discussing the adoption of the vaccine in the national immunization schedule since it was a relatively new vaccine and the best method of prevention against this disease, which primarily affects children.

The workshop also discussed a suggested framework for Rotavirus surveillance system that include vaccine adverse event reporting and notification.

Dr Hisham Al Khatib, the senior specialist Public health and Safety department, DHA said, 'It is estimated that almost every child in the world will suffer at least one infection by the time he/she is 2 years old, and improving sanitation and hygiene does not significantly reduce the spread of rotavirus and therefore vaccination is key.”

Dr Lubna Al Shaali, Public Health specialist, DHA said although this vaccine was not mandatory as part of the national immunization schedule, it was readily available and many healthcare practitioners inform parents about the option to give their children this vaccine.

The workshop was attended by experts from various sectors including members from the Ministry of Health, Twam Hospital, Al Mafraq Hospital, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City and external WHO expert from the Ministry of Health in Oman.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: vaccine | Dubai Health Authority | introduction | rota virus |

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