The World Health Organization recommended Friday that all children should be given innoculated with an anti-diarrhea vaccine to counter rotavirus, which claims half a million lives every year.
"This new policy will help ensure access to rotavirus vaccines in the world's poorest countries," the WHO said in a statement, which noted that more than 85 percent of deaths occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia.
The latest WHO recommmendation follows clinical tests in South Africa and Malawi that found the vaccine reduced severe diarrhea brought about by rotavirus.
"The new evidence and the WHO recommendation are major breakthroughs for the health of our children," said Oyewale Tomori, a former WHO laboratory coordinator for Africa.
"We urgently need these life-saving vaccines against rotavirus," she said.
Tachi Yamada, head of health programming at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the recommendation "clears the way for vaccines that will protect children in the developing world from one of the most deadly diseases they face."