Preventing over 17% annual childhood deaths: Pentavalent, Rotavirus & Pneumococcal Vaccines

Immunization stops Childhood preventable diseases

The latest report (pdf) released by the UNICEF sites Pneumonia and Diarrhoea as the topmost causes of death in children <5years age group all around the world, with the poorer countries being more affected, but even worse is that half of these deaths occur in five (5) countries- India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo Pakistan and Ethiopia.

Related: Preterm births is the official No. 1 newborn killer

2 million children are said to die every year from both Pneumonia and Diarrhoea which constitutes about 29% of the under-five (years) mortality rate worldwide. But the good news is that there should be a reverse in these figures by increasingly implementing some really simple healthy key interventions viz: encouraging breast feeding, improving access to clean water and sanitation, use of Oral Rehydrating Solutions (ORS) for diarrhoea and the proper use of antibiotics for pneumonia.

This does not overlook the harrowing fact that 783 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water source nor does a whooping 2.5 billion people use sanitation facilities.

According to the report, “Nearly 90 percent of deaths due to diarrhea worldwide have been attributed to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene”.

An important hope for progress comes from immunization against the two top killers with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines & Hib vaccine, Hemophilus influenza type b (the commonest infecting bacteria in Pneumonia) and Rotavirus vaccine (the commonest infecting virus for diarrhoea) respectively.

Just for the records, the figures of annual global childhood deaths are worthy of note:

  • AIDS is responsible for 2%
  • Malaria is responsible for 7%
  • Diarrhoea is responsible for 11%
  • Pneumonia is responsible for 18%

… of all childhood deaths worldwide. And the simple solution to the last two includes: “encouraging breast feeding, improving access to clean water and sanitation, use of Oral Rehydrating Solutions (ORS) for diarrhoea and the proper use of antibiotics for pneumonia”.



2 million of the world’s poorest children could be saved by introducing routine vaccination programmes against diarrhoea and pneumonia- Unicef.

 Childhood Immunization- taking a shot of Pentavalent vaccine


Five days ago, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State witnessed the official celebrations that marked the launch of Pentavalent Vaccines in Nigeria as a prelude to next year’s planned launch of the pneumococcal vaccine, both of which is set to reduce our infant mortality rate by 17% and save 30, 000 children’s lives annually. The initiative is made possible by the joint funding from GAVI Alliance and the Nigerian Government. The Pentavalent Vaccine constitutes of 5 antigens viz:  diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B (Hib); thus it replaces the current DPT and Hepatitis Vaccines. So in essence, Nigeria’s Expanded Programme on Immunization will soon have a new schedule with BCG, OPV, Pentavalent, Measles and Yellow Fever vaccines + Pneumococcal vaccine to be added next year. It is been rolled out in phases starting from 13 states across Nigeria. Find the official news here.



In a landmark event, Ghana made history in Africa by simultaneously launching the two vaccines Pneumococcal and Rotavirus vaccines against the two top childhood killers, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea respectively which represents 20% of Ghana’s under-five mortality rate. It was also a collaborative effort between the GAVI Alliance and the Government of Ghana.


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