News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

No help for diarrhea kids as glitch delays new treatment

Yugendree Naidoo

A glitch in the registration of a new treatment for severe diarrhea in children has led to a four-month countrywide delay in its introduction.

Although it’s release has now been pushed back from April to August, the four month delay could have cost lives and meant the strain on hospitals caused by the disease would not have been alleviated.

The treatment would have protected children against Rotavirus, which is the leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children.

Severe diarrhea — of which the Rotavirus is one cause — in children is the third highest cause, after perinatal and respiratory infections, of mortality in children under five years of age in South Africa, according to the Medical Research Council (MRC).

In Cape Town, the disease places strain on hospitals during the months of October to April, causing thousands of admissions due to hot summer conditions.

And across South Africa, MRC Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit deputy director Mapafeka Seheri said diarrhoeal disease led to about 160 to 200 deaths per day.

The cause of the disease was due to poor infrastructure, a lack of clean water, hygiene and sanitation, she said.

Seheri said children with sever diarrhea often needed hospital admission for rehydration, although some clinics were also equipped to perform this task.

She said while acute gastro was caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, bacteria was found all year round but peaking during summer, while the Rotavirus peaked during winter because of cooler and drier conditions.

The Department of Health first rolled out the Rotavirus vaccine in the Eastern Cape last year September as part of their expanded programme on immunization.

But department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said the countrywide rollout could not take place in April because according to the Medicines Control Act no unregistered vaccines could be used.

Hadebe said the delay was caused because the company who had the tender to supply the vaccine, called Lyophilised, were no longer manufacturing the powder form.

He said only a liquid preparation was now being manufactured in overseas factories, but the liquid formulation was not yet registered by the Medicines Control Council for use in South Africa.

However, in March 2009 the Lyophilised formulation was registered by the MCC, paving the way for the batches to be forwarded to the National Vaccine Quality Control Laboratory.

After quality control clearance of the vaccines, importation could take place, from where vaccines could be distributed to provinces.

The soonest possible introduction would be August 1, he said. — West Cape News

Tags: diarrhea, vaccine

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One Response to “No help for diarrhea kids as glitch delays new treatment”

  1. Emma Hill says:

    diarrhea can sometimes be cause by spoiled foods or salmonella’-;

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