Two new vaccines for children are to be introduced by the health department, national health minister Manto Tshabalala Msimang said on Tuesday.
Tshabalala-Msimang, who was speaking at the 61st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, said the two new vaccines - Rotarix and Prevnar - would be introduced into the public sector in a bid to reduce and prevent cases of pneumonia and diarrhoea among children.She said: "Building on the success of our immunisation programme with current coverage of more than 85 percent, South Africa is making arrangements to introduce into the public health sector two additional vaccines which we expect will have a significant impact in reducing the cases of diarrhoea and pneumonia and related deaths."
She warned that access to the new vaccines would be problematic due to the high costs associated with them.
"In line with the global commitment to reduce child mortality, South Africa urges the relevant agencies to assist countries in increasing access to these vaccines by amongst others making them more affordable," she said.
The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO lists pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and HIV as the five main causes of death amongst children aged between one month and five years, which together with malnutrition are said to contribute to more than half of all child deaths. – (Sapa)