October 23, 2012 | The Editors

Milestones: rotavirus vaccine

We’ve been featuring milestones from PATH’s history in our occasional series. Last time, we outlined our work to introduce a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis. Today, we feature rotavirus vaccine.

2006 to 2008

The health challenge: Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe childhood diarrhea and one of the world’s top killers of children. Rotavirus vaccines were first introduced in developed countries in 2006, but it can often take years for such vaccines to make their way to the developing world.

Watch our video on rotavirus vaccines in Nicaragua.

What we did: With PATH’s help, Nicaragua became the first developing country to introduce vaccines against rotavirus within months of their introduction. Within two years, massive vaccination campaigns led to 60 percent fewer severe cases of rotavirus.

Young boy in hospital bed with IV to nose.
Children stricken by severe diarrhea once crowded Nicaragua’s health centers. Photo: PATH/Teresa Guillien.

The result: Today, more than 80 percent of newborns in Nicaragua receive rotavirus vaccines, and the country’s success has paved the way for the World Health Organization, the GAVI Alliance, and other organizations to finance and deliver rotavirus vaccines in other developing countries. In June 2009, informed by the results of pivotal studies coordinated by PATH and our partners, the World Health Organization recommended that all national immunization programs include rotavirus vaccines.

Related PATH resources

DefeatDD website

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