|MSD in the UAE partners with Mediclinic City Hospital to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination|
Vaccinations save an estimated 2.5 million lives each year
Dubai, UAE 24th April, 2013 Today, as part of an annual region-wide initiative, MSD in the UAE announced its support of EMRO Vaccination Week; launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and partners. As part of their support for this week and highlighting their ongoing dedication to raising awareness to improving the quality and longevity of the lives of UAE citizens, MSD in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Mediclinic City Hospital hosted a media event to highlight the importance of vaccinations and the need for greater vaccination coverage. EMRO Vaccination Week celebrates and promotes immunization for people of all ages through advocacy, education and communication activities.
EMRO Vaccination Week was launched with the goal to protect all people at risk against vaccine-preventable diseases. This year EMRO Vaccination Week will take place from 24th- 30th April. As part of MSD in the UAE's commitment to raising awareness and increasing vaccination coverage of UAE citizens, MSD will be focusing on raising awareness of rotavirus and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), several strains of which have been linked to cervical cancer. According to the latest figures around 2.2% of UAE females suffer from HPV at any given time putting them at risk of cervical cancer , with an average of 50 -55 UAE females being diagnosed every year. Additionally, rotavirus causes around 111 million cause of gastroenteritis, globally, every year . Whilst regional estimates vary, depending on where you are in the Gulf, as many as 4 out of every 100,000 UAE children under the age of five die each year due to this virus.
Highlighting the crucial importance of vaccination awareness, Mr. Mazen Altaruti, Managing Director of MSD Gulf, said 'EMRO Vaccination Week is an extremely important initiative, which MSD UAE is committed to supporting. Each year an estimated 2.5 million lives are saved through vaccinations, the opportunity that vaccinations provide, in saving and improving the quality of people's lives insurmountable. MSD has more than a century of commitment to vaccine development, and has played an important part in the reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases to date. This is something we want to continue to do. At MSD we realize the importance of focusing on disease areas that affect the local communities in which we work most, which is why this year we have decided to address two important viruses, HPV and rotavirus. which if vaccinated against could save hundreds of lives in the UAE.
Talking about the impact of HPV and the prevalence of cervical cancer in the UAE, Dr. Anne Phillip, an Independent Consultant in Community Gynecology, who runs the Community Gynecology, Menopause & Family planning clinic, said HPV is one of the most common viruses affecting women around the world. 8 out of 10 women will be affected by HPV at least once in their life time and in many cases more than once. Certain strains of HPV put women at risk of developing cervical cancer, especially since HPV is known to cause 99% of all cervical cancer cases. 5 In the UAE, cervical cancer is already the second most common cancer affecting women, after breast cancer, with between 50 -55 women being diagnosed each year. 5 If the number of HPV cases continues to increase at current rates, WHO estimates that the number of cervical cancer cases will have increased by almost 300% in women over the age of 65, and almost 200% in women under the age of 65.¹ The truth is cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer that be
Talking about the risks of rotavirus, Dr. Kethar Saravanan, Consultant Pediatrician at Mediclinic City Hospital, said 'Rotavirus is the most common form of diarrheal virus amongst infants around the world, and one of the number one causes of hospitalization amongst children under the age of five in the Middle East. Due to lack of awareness and vaccination against this disease it estimated that as many as 4 out of every 100,000 UAE children under the age of five may die of the virus each year. By simply raising awareness of the importance of vaccinating children against this virus we can significantly reduce the prevalence of this illness and ensure protection.'
Vaccines have had a profound impact on public health and have helped to prevent more than 30 common infectious diseases, in addition to averting long-term disability each year millions of lives area saved thanks to growing awareness of the need to vaccinate. Research has shown that by simply raising awareness the prevalence of serious diseases can be significantly reduced.
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