Introducing rotavirus vaccine to the Palestinian territories: The role of public-private partnerships

W. P. Rennert, M. Hindiyeh, F. M. Abu-Awwad, H. Marzouqa, A. Ramlawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Introducing childhood immunization poses challenges in environments of societal fragility. The Palestinian territories (Pt) are considered 'fragile' because of their lack of political, economic and territorial sovereignty. Poverty is rife, infant mortality high, and diseases associated with overcrowding widespread. Under these circumstances the Rostropovich Vishneskaya Foundation (RVF) has assembled a network of public and private stakeholders to introduce a country-wide rotavirus immunization program. Methods The incidence of diarrhea was determined for 18 months before and 18 months after the introduction of rotavirus vaccine among all children younger than 5 years presenting to outpatient clinics in Gaza with three or more loose stools per day. Simultaneously the prevalence of rotavirus was established by rotavirus antigen detection in stool samples collected from children younger than 3 years at Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem during the corresponding time periods. Results Within 12 months 97.4% immunization coverage was achieved. The incidence of diarrhea dropped by 32.2%, while the prevalence of rotavirus in stool samples decreased by 64.6% throughout the following year. Conclusion In environments of economic or political instability private-public partnerships for the introduction of comprehensive vaccination programs can work based on close collaboration, shared vision, flexibility and inter-organizational trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E78-E83
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Immunization
  • Management and policy
  • Population-based and preventative services

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