Home Doctor NewsMalaria Huge funding announced to roll-out first malaria vaccine in Africa: WHO

Huge funding announced to roll-out first malaria vaccine in Africa: WHO

by Vaishali Sharma
booster vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed Gavi, the Vaccination Alliance’s, release of over USD 160 million in international contributions for the next three years to promote enhanced vaccine availability to children at high risk of disease and death from malaria.

Malaria continues to be the leading cause of juvenile sickness and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

WHO claimed in a statement after the announcement in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, that almost half a million African children will die from malaria in 2020, or one kid every minute.

Since the introduction of the world’s first malaria vaccine in 2019, it has been widely accepted in African communities in a surprisingly short amount of time, even amid the Covid-19 epidemic.

Throughout the epidemic, when normal health services were hampered by a variety of issues, parents and caregivers brought their children to clinics and health posts to receive the malaria vaccination. They are fully aware that malaria claims lives on a daily basis and are keen to safeguard their children from this fatal disease, according to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

According to WHO, vaccination performance for the first dose ranges from 73% to more than 90%, depending on the country, with no notable interruptions throughout the epidemic.

To date, around 1.3 million children have benefited from the vaccination in the three African trial nations, according to the report.

Gavi’s new financing opportunity gets us one step closer to providing millions more African children with the lifesaving RTS,S malaria vaccine, according to Moeti.

Following the World Health Organization’s recommendation in October 2021 for widespread use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in areas with moderate to high Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission, a number of malaria-endemic countries have expressed interest in adopting the vaccine and are expected to apply for Gavi support to do so.

The RTS,S vaccine is designed to protect against Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal malaria parasite and the most common on the African continent.

Where the vaccine has been introduced, there has been a substantial drop in children being hospitalised with severe malaria and a drop in child deaths in the age group that is eligible for the vaccine.

“Malaria has devastated communities for far too long in Africa. We know that initially, supply, will not meet demand, nevertheless, we look forward to working with countries and our partners to introduce and scale this new tool in our fight against malaria, which could save the lives of thousands of children across the continent, said Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director of Country Programmes at Gavi.

The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a scientific, child health, and malaria control breakthrough. According to Professor Rose Leke, a malaria disease expert from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and co-chair of the expert group that advised WHO on a framework for allocating the currently limited malaria vaccine supply, using this vaccine on a large scale could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.