Training of Trainers on the Introduction of Rotavirus and Pneumococcal Vaccines
Gaborone, Botswana 21-23 May: Botswana is planning to introduce two new vaccines in July 2012 as an additional measure to combat child illness and deaths that are preventable by vaccination.
The two vaccines are going to be part of the routine immunisation schedule for the country one among the high impact interventions highlighted in the Botswana Accelerated Child Survival and Development Strategy.
Botswana is one of the countries unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 on reducing by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. The current under five mortality rate is 76 /1,000 live births (BFHS 2007) with diarrhoea and pneumonia being the leading causes of child mortality. The introduction of the two new vaccines (rotavirus vaccine for prevention of rotavirus diarrhoea and pneumococcal vaccine for prevention of pneumococcal disease) will reduce the number of diarrhoea and pneumonia cases among children thereby contributing to the reduction of child deaths in the country.
Official Launch of the Training
The Ministry of Health with facilitation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) inter-country Support team conducted a three day training for 94 health workers who were trained on the new vaccines in Gaborone and Francistown. The trainees were health nurses, doctors, pharmacists, health promotion officers, cold chain technicians; central medical stores and staff responsible for vaccine supply chain management from all districts with at least three participants from each district. GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer also participated in the training representing companies manufacturing the vaccines.
In her opening remarks UNICEF Representative Dr Doreen Mulenga commended the government for the bold step they have taken and highlighted that the national coverage masks subnational disparities with some districts having very low coverage for some of the antigens. “It is therefore important to implement the programme with an equity lens and ensure that we come up with innovative strategies to address inequities between and within districts”.
The training was officially opened by the Ag Director Department of Public Health MOH Mr Setshwano Mokgweetsinyana who spoke about how the New Vaccine introduction will reduce child deaths to realise MDG goal 4. Mr Mokgweetsinyana also thanked the UN for supporting Ministry Of Health activities.
The World Health Organisation Representative Dr Eugene Nyarko also commended government for introducing the new vaccines.