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Rotavirus vaccination: ‘160,000 children risk death annually’

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By Dayo Johnson, Akure

A Professor of Microbial Pathology/Infectious Disease, Michael Odimayo, has said that incorporating rotavirus vaccination into the National Programme on Immunization this year, will prevent about 160,000 childhood deaths annually in the country.

Odimayo said this while delivering the first inaugural lecture themed: Turning the tides against infectious diseases: The microbial pathologist’s nexus, at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.

He said: “The impact of rotavirus vaccination to children especially in the first year of life, cannot be over-emphasized.

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“With the introduction of the vaccine alone, about 160,000 childhood deaths could be averted annually. The Federal Government should endeavour to fulfill its promise by incorporating rotavirus vaccination into the National Programme on Immunization unfailingly in this year 2020.”

Speaking on hepatitis, Odimayo said that 25million Nigerians have hepatitis. He, however, regretted that “the health-seeking attitude of infected individuals remains poor.”

Using Ondo State as an example, the Professor said less than 10 percent of patients diagnosed positive for hepatitis present for follow up and treatment.

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He said: “Among those who came for follow up, less than 25 percent showed enough commitment as to do viral load and other tests to qualify for the commencement of treatment. Yet, the global target for viral hepatitis elimination is 2030.

“Individual screening, vaccination and treatment should be encouraged to reduce the premature deaths associated with the disease.”

“Efforts should be made in correlating viral loads and other clinical parameters with HBV serologic profiles in order to reduce the cost of patients’ management of HBV.”


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