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“Thirteen children have died yesterday from diarrhea-related illnesses.  But with this vaccine, millions do not have to suffer the same fate.  We need to be serious about saving our children from the grip of this burdensome but highly preventable disease,” says Dr. Salvacion Gatchalian – Director, Clinical R & D and Medical Affairs for GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, ” And there is no better way than to vaccinate our children to protect them from rotavirus, the most common cause of diarrhea which accounts for 12% of deaths among children under five in the Philippines.”

“If properly implemented, the Philippines may be the very first country in Asia to include rotavirus vaccine in our national immunization program.”  She added.

That was the message of this year’s Chinese New Year  Mystery Scandal Dinner Party at the Mango Tree Bistro Manila in Trinoma last January 19 (Thursday).

In recent months, Secretary Enrique Ona of the Department of Health has announced to media its intention to include Rotavirus Vaccination as part of the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) in 2012.  This is aligned to PNoy’s direction and goal of Universal Health Care and moves the Philippines forward in achieving Millennium Development Goal #4 (Reduce Child Mortality) by 2015.

ROTAVIRUS VACCINE is best given to babies as early as 6 weeks old up to 8 months of age.  Itis administered orally with 2-3 doses, depending on the brand:GlaxoSmithKline’sRotaRix is given in 2 doses.

photo courtesy of sciencephotolibrary
GSK’s rotavirus vaccine is currently licensed in more than 100 countries around the world and sold in 62 countries.  It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and is the only rotavirus vaccine that received a pre-qualification status by the World Health Organization.  In the Philippines, GSK’s live oral rotavirus vaccine is registered and approved by Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).  It is the only two-dose oral rotavirus vaccine that provides early protection to infants by 3 months of age.”

It was a fun and meaningful night filled with laughter, games and good Thai food.  Here are some of the delicious dishes that was served on our table.

Lemon Grass Iced Tea
Shrimp Cakes
This soup is so hot and sour
Chicken and Noodles

Aside from the good food, an intriguing skit was presented for all the dinner guests to introduce the main topic of the evening which is rotavirus vaccination.

The Scandalous Sy Family Cast

Here are some important facts about rotavirus and rotavirus vaccination:

  • Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in the Philippines and worldwide.  Every minute, 1 child dies of diarrhea worldwide.  In the Philippines, at least 13 children under the age of five dies every day.
  • Recurrent diarrhea may lead to long term effects of a child’s development in terms of height, Energy Levels and Cognitive abilities.
  • Rotavirus is highly contagious and stable in the environment.  It can survive on hands for hours; on solid surfaces for days and remains stable and infective in stools for a week.
  • Rotavirus Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent diarrhea related childhood deaths under 5 years of age.  It is considered as one of the greatest public health achievements in the world.
  • World Health Organization’s (WHO)  Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommends that Rotavirus Vaccines be included in all national immunization programs, particularly in countries like the Philippines.

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raindeocampo

Writer, Wanderer, Child of God

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