A mother receives a vaccination card for her children at a health centre in Yemen

A mother receives a vaccination card for her children at a health center in Yemen. Author: GAVI/2012/DounePorter

On August 1, Yemen became the first Middle Eastern country to introduce rotavirus vaccination with support from the GAVI Alliance, following rotavirus vaccine introductions in Botswana and the Republic of Moldova in July. Rotavirus vaccines are improving health and saving the lives of children throughout the world by protecting them from rotavirus diarrhea.

Forty percent of Yemeni children hospitalized for diarrhea have rotavirus and more than 7 percent of childhood deaths in Yemen are attributable to rotavirus. In Botswana, diarrhea causes 6 percent of deaths in children under age 5. Botswana joins Ghana, Rwanda and Sudan as well as South Africa and Zambia, which introduced rotavirus vaccination on a regional basis, in becoming the sixth African country to introduce rotavirus vaccines. The Republic of Moldova is the first country in Europe to introduce rotavirus vaccination with support from the GAVI Alliance.

To date, 41 countries have introduced rotavirus vaccines (39 including Botswana, the Republic of Moldova and Yemen in their National Immunization Programs and two regionally in Zambia and Thailand).