Dear Sir / Madam, (to HIV agencies in Sudan)
The vaccine insert warns against this practice but I am interested to know how many babies are there in Sudan of this age who may have HIV or Aids, and what surveillance and testing is being done before vaccination? I was pleased to read that the WHO report on Sudan’s Rotavirus vaccine program stressing that “
the use of rotavirus vaccines should be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhoeal diseases; this strategy should include, among other interventions, improvements in hygiene and sanitation, zinc supplementation, community-based administration of oral rehydration solution and overall improvements in case management.”
Breastfeeding must also be included in this comprehensive strategy. For example, breastfed children are over 6 times less likely to die from diarrhea, The Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) gives this important data: Exclusive breastfeeding means no other food or drink, not even water, is permitted, except for supplements of vitamins and minerals or necessary medicines. The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding is six months (WHO 2001). A meta-analysis of three observational studies in developing countries shows that breastfed children under age 6 months are 6.1 times less likely to die of diarrhea than infants who are not breastfed (WHO Collaborative Study Team 2000).
I look forward to hearing what strategies you have to support these sensible interventions and what safety protocol you will be following or supporting when vaccinating children who may already have an infection such as HIV or Aids.
Many thanks for your work in the area of health in Sudan and for your considered reply,