Rwanda Receives 2.5M Infant Pneumonia Vaccines
Rwandan officials hope to vaccinate all children younger than 1 year old in the country against pneumonia, according to the New York Times . Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is donating 2.5 million doses of its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which was introduced in Rwanda last week. It will be the first time the vaccine is distributed in a developing country (McNeil, New York Times, 4/27).
Richard Sezibera, the health minister, attributes a quarter of Rwanda's child deaths to pneumococcal diseases, according to the Rwanda New Times. Sezibera said, "We are glad that we are the first nation to introduce this vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa, and we are committed to improving the health of our children so that we build stronger generations for tomorrow." Officials hope to finish the immunization campaign by the end of 2009 and routinely vaccinate all infants going forward. The GAVI Alliance, a partner in the initiative, has also approved similar campaigns in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the New Times reports (Nambi, New Times/AllAfrica.com, 4/26).
Research To Assess Pneumonia Funding
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $2 million grant to researchers at Edinburgh University to develop a mathematical model to determine the most effective targets for future donations for pneumonia research, which claims the lives of over two million children younger than 5 years old, the Scotsman reports (Wylie, Scotsman, 4/28). The Gates Foundation hopes the researchers will identify ways to help the U.N.-member countries reach the Millennium Development Goal to reduce the deaths of children under five by two-thirds from their 1990 level by 2015.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.