Children in the Pacific region are now able to access three new life-saving vaccines, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), rotavirus vaccine (RV), and the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), through Rotary Give Every Child A Future, a partnership between UNICEF and Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.
This multi-million dollar partnership is supporting the introduction of these vaccines to protect children against pneumonia and rotavirus as well as to protect adolescents against HPV reaching more than 100,000 children in total across Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
In the Pacific, pneumonia and diarrhoea are among the top three causes of mortality in children under five years of age. Around one-third of all pneumonia deaths are due to pneumococcal disease, which is usually transmitted through contact with infected children.
Rotaviruses are the leading cause of severe diarrhoea in children aged less than five years. Severe diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, particularly in young children, and if left untreated can be life-threatening.
Cervical cancer is one of the top three regional priorities of Pacific leaders, with over a thousand cervical cancer cases each year. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer can be attributed to HPV infection.