There is renewed hope for the future of Malaria in Africa after the groundbreaking Malaria vaccine.
The disease which plagued the continent for thousands of years and claimed millions of lives can now be vaccinated against.
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In October, the World Health Organisation had announced the production of the vaccine. Although, it is only available for children over five-month-old.
Over 800,000 children have been immunized under a programme using the RTSS vaccine. This programme was conducted in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in 2019.
Trials show that this vaccine reduces the risk of severe malaria by 30 per cent.
WHO had since October 9 recommended the vaccine for children above five months in high risk regions.
According to data, about 260,00 children under five years, die yearly from Malaria. This accounts for 90 per cent of the global cases.
“From a scientific perspective, this is a massive breakthrough,” said Pedro Alonso, the WHO Global Malaria Programme director.
The coordinator of Niger’s National Malaria Control Programme (PNLP) said the Malaria vaccine was “welcomed with great joy.”
“This is something that was eagerly awaited.”
The WHO said the vaccine was created by British Pharmaceutical Giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The commercial name for the vaccine is Mosquirix.
The vaccine has been received with massive support from parents. However, some of them are sceptical about the possible side effects of the jab.
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AFP reported that African parents urge every child to get the vaccine.
Hajia Aminu Bawa, a mother of an 11-month-old girl in Southern Ghana’s Gomoa region was “excited”.
“My child took the vaccine and nothing happened… I want to encourage every family with children below age two to go for the vaccine because it will go a long way to save lives.”
Another mother, Prince Gyamfi, of a six-month-old boy in Gomoa, said she voluntarily got her child vaccinated.
“I have read about vaccines and how they work. I voluntarily came to vaccinate my child and so far nothing has happened,” she said.
“Some people discouraged me from giving him the vaccine because they said it’s new and can kill him but I think they said it out of ignorance.”
In Niger, AFP spoke to a mother named Fati, who was waiting outside a private clinic in Niamey, where her child was hospitalized for malaria.
“When the vaccine arrives, it will be a great relief,” she said.
“Malaria kills our children and it doesn’t spare their parents, either.”
Source: PUNCH HealthWise