The Dominican Republic has close to 8 million inhabitants and about 230,000 new births every year. Infant mortality has greatly diminished over recent years, as some of the causes of mortality have also diminished. Diarrhea, malnutrition, measles and polio , are no longer common causes of death as they were in the past.
Respiratory diseases are now the cause of the majority of deaths in children.
Pneumoccocus is now the cause of most life threatening pneumonias with pleural effusions, and also of bacterial meningitis that leaves children with severe neurological damage.
Furthermore in recent years we have seen the emergence of resistant strains of Pneumococcus further complicating the situation. Our statistics show that the serotype that produces the majority of pleural infections (82%) is serotype 14, of which only 17% are sensitive to penicillin.
Several studies in the USA and now in Gambia have shown the benefits of introducing the Pneumococal vaccine in children.
Since 2001 the pneumoccocal vaccine (PREVENAR) has been available in the Dominican Republic but due to its high cost only very few children in the private clinics can receive it. We are presently conducting a research study to further demonstrate the potential benefits of the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine in the Dominican Republic by estimating the burden of pneumoccocal disease in this country. In addition we are determining the serotypes that commonly cause disease in the Dominican Republic. Preliminary data indicate that serotypes covered by Prevenar vaccine are the most common in the Dominican Republic, making it the ideal vaccine for introduction into the country.
Here in Fundacion Dominicana de Infectologia we believe that today the single and most important health intervention that will decrease mortality in our children is the introduction of this vaccine.
Help us in this project of establishing a fund for the vaccine. Help us start with a seed for the fund that may convince governmental authorities to match what we raise to introduce this vaccine for the Children in the Dominican Republic.