Tajikistan prepares for nationwide introduction of rotavirus vaccine

WHO

Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world. WHO recommends that rotavirus vaccines be included in all national immunization programmes; and with support from the GAVI Alliance, Tajikistan will in January 2015 become the 14th Member State in the WHO European Region to introduce rotavirus vaccine into its routine immunization schedule. This step will significantly decrease morbidity and mortality caused by this disease in the country.

Training of trainers

As part of nationwide preparations, and with WHO support, the Republican Immunization Center conducted a “training of trainers” on rotavirus for 35 immunization programme staff based in the capital city of Dushanbe on 17 September 2014. The workshop was intended to build a cadre of specially trained clinicians at national level who can lead subsequent cascade trainings in all regions of Tajikistan in September and October  2014.

The key objectives of the workshop were:

  • to provide evidence for introduction of rotavirus vaccine; 
  • to explain rotavirus epidemiology and the benefits of rotavirus vaccination for young infants; and 
  • to outline vaccine administration, contraindications, precautions and potential adverse reactions.

A comprehensive strategy to control diarrhoeal diseases was also presented during the training. 

National conference

Alongside this effort, a national conference will be organized on 30 October 2014 for medical academicians and clinical specialists to facilitate their understanding of and support for rotavirus introduction. Consisting of both teachers of future medical workers and practitioners, this group is considered to be particularly influential in promoting vaccine uptake. 

Representatives from Armenia and WHO/Europe will also be present to share the experiences and lessons learnt of other countries that have already introduced the vaccine.