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Rotavirus Vaccine Saves the Lives of Thousands of Children Every Year — 5 Bollywood Dialogues Explain How

Contributed by: For Child Health

Around 1 million children under the age of five die every year in India. You might not know this, but diarrhea can actually be very serious for children and is one of the leading causes of these deaths. Close to 1.2 lakh children lose their lives from diarrhea each year.

Recently, the government has ramped up efforts to prevent death among children. Importantly, this includes making sure children receive all their vaccines. Vaccines prevent deadly diseases like pneumonia, polio, and measles. In 2016, India began introducing a vaccine to prevent the most common cause of diarrhea – rotavirus.

“Kitne bachhe the?”

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Rotavirus is the leading cause of moderate-to-severe diarrhea among children in India, accounting for approximately 40% of all diarrhea cases requiring treatment. Rotavirus was responsible for more than 47,000 deaths among Indian children under 5 in 2013. Even when not fatal, the burden of illness that diarrhea causes can adversely impact a child’s growth and development, and places a significant economic burden on families, communities and the healthcare system.

“Bahut ho gaya diarrhea, ab dangal hoga”

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But things changed. In 2016, India became one of the first Southeast Asian countries to introduce the rotavirus vaccine (RVV) into its national immunization program. Today, the vaccine is being delivered in 10 states in India and will be scaled up nationally in a phased manner.

“America ke pass Superman hai... Batman hai…Spider-Man hai… Lekin India ke pass rotavirus vaccine (RVV) hai”

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The world’s most affordable rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC, is manufactured right here in India. It was developed through a public-private partnership between Department of Biotechnology (DBT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and others. This ‘Make in India’ vaccine is available for less than $1 to governments in low-income countries.

“RVV, Naam toh sun hi hoga"

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Rotavirus vaccines (RVV) are currently being used in more than 90 countries. The vaccine is recommended by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and the WHO for use in national immunization programmes worldwide.

“Mere baas gaadi hai bangla hai, tumhare paas kya hai”

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While improvement in hygiene, sanitation, and drinking water can help protect against other forms of diarrhea— they do not adequately prevent the spread of rotavirus. Rotavirus is highly contagious and cannot be treated with antibiotics. Thus, rotavirus vaccination offers the best hope for protecting children against this disease.

Today, rotavirus vaccines are saving lives, reducing disease and suffering, and improving health worldwide. Raising awareness and increasing access is the first step. Together, we can make sure that no more kids will have to die from this disease.

Global Citizen India and For Child Health support UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring healthy lives and well being of all people. Take action here with Global Citizen and For Child Health to make sure everyone can get the health services they need no matter who they are, where they live, or what their income.

For Child Health is a platform to promote every child's right to a healthy and happy childhood by increasing awareness about vaccines in India. It is supported by Global Health Strategies, which works on a number of pressing public health issues in India and internationally.