Regional Workshop on Rotavirus and Diarrheal Disease

On January 23-24, 2008 a Regional Workshop entitled “Rotavirus and Diarrheal Disease Control” was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. The workshop with 50 participants was sponsored by PATH and hosted by Curatio International Foundation.

The workshop brought together representatives from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EE/CA) countries, WHO, UNICEF, GAVI experts with aim to share the current evidence, and determine the level of interest, main needs/key priorities and concerns of the stakeholders. Several countries in EE/CA struggle with high rates of diarrheal disease (DD) morbidity and mortality.
among young children. The new interventions such as rotavirus vaccines, zinc treatment, and lowosmolarity oral rehydration solution (ORS), complement existing approaches and contribute significantly to meaningful reductions in morbidity and mortality in many countries. Introduction of these new interventions is hampered by a lack of awareness and diminished prioritization for diarrheal disease. Participants from the following eight countries of EE/CA region attended the workshop: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.Participants included leaders, representatives of various sectors involved in child health care, infectious disease surveillance and control, and immunization, including: officials from the Ministries of Health, public health officials, academicians in the fields of pediatrics and infectious diseases, local pharmaceutical companies, experts from donor organizations.

Konstantine (Koka) Pruidze, Deputy Minister, (MoLHSA Georgia) Dr. John Wecker (PATH), and Dr. Ketevan Chkhatarashvili (CIF). The key presentations on an integrated strategy of DD control, child morbidity/mortality situation in the region with focus on DD, the current evidences regarding new control interventions including rotavirus vaccines, the rotavirus surveillance findings in the region and updates in the GAVI application process were made by Dr. John Wecker (PATH), Dr. Sanjiv Kumar (UNICEF), Dr. Liudmila Mosina (WHO), Dr. Robin Biellik (PATH), Dr. Ivone Rizzo (GAVI Alliance).
Representatives from each participating country presented information on the burden of DD in their countries, discussed existing control strategies and needs for their strengthening.

Georgia in addition presented key messages of the National Strategic Plan developed by the experts group under the leadership of PATH and CIF. Priority areas, needs for improvement were identified during the workshop.

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