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Malaria Vaccine To Be Available In Cameroon By 2024.

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Malaria Vaccine To Be Available In Cameroon By 2024.

(CTN News) – On Wednesday, the United Nations announced the upcoming expansion of malaria vaccination efforts throughout Africa, following the arrival of the first shipment of doses in Cameroon.

The pilot phase, which began in 2019 and saw over two million children vaccinated in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, resulted in significant reductions in severe malaria illness and hospitalizations.

The broader rollout will begin shortly, with 331,200 doses of the RTS, S vaccine landing in Cameroon’s capital on Tuesday. The WHO, UNICEF, and the Gavi vaccine alliance released a joint statement calling it a “historic step” towards broader vaccination against one of the deadliest diseases for African children.

The doses are donated by GSK, and a further 1.7 million doses are set for delivery to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone in the coming weeks. Cameroon’s Health Minister encouraged all parents to take advantage of this life-saving intervention, as remains a major public health threat in the country.

Liberia’s Health Minister, Wilhelmina Jallah, emphasized that malaria is the primary cause of mortality among infants and children under the age of five in the country.

She further stated that the introduction of the vaccine holds immense potential to save numerous lives and alleviate the burden of this disease. This development is considered a significant breakthrough moment.

In preparation for the integration of malaria vaccines into routine immunization programs, several African nations are in the final stages of their preparations.

The administration of the first doses is scheduled to commence between January and March 2024. UNICEF chief, Catherine Russell, compared the introduction of vaccines to adding a star player to a team,

Signifying the beginning of a new era in immunization and malaria control.

In 2021, Africa was responsible for approximately 95 percent of global malaria cases and 96 percent of the deaths caused by this mosquito-borne disease.

Between 2000 and 2019, the number of global malaria deaths decreased significantly, reaching 568,000. However, in 2020, the COVID-19 crisis impacted protection and treatment efforts, resulting in a 10 percent increase in deaths to 625,000. In 2021, the number of deaths slightly decreased to 619,000, with 77 percent of them being children under the age of five.

At the same time, global malaria cases slightly increased to 247 million. The introduction of the RTS, S vaccine is considered a significant breakthrough in malaria control and a beacon of hope for vulnerable children worldwide.

This vaccine specifically targets the plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is the deadliest and most prevalent malaria parasite, particularly in Africa.

Administered in four doses starting at around five months of age, the broad implementation of this vaccine in endemic regions has the potential to revolutionize malaria control efforts and save tens of thousands of lives annually, as stated in a joint statement.

SEE ALSO:

Thailand Faces Whooping Cough Surge: Urgent Call for Vaccination as Cases Reach 93

 

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