More than one million children in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have received one or extra doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine as efforts to eradicate the disease in Africa gather steam, said the World Health Organization ahead of World Malaria Day to be marked on April 25.
NAIROBI, April 22 (Xinhua) — More than one million children in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have received one or extra doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine as efforts to eradicate the disease in the continent gather steam, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday ahead of World Malaria Day to be marked on April 25.
WHO in a statement issued in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, said the malaria vaccine since its launch in 2019 has significantly reduced severe ailment and death among children in the three African countries.
The first ever malaria vaccine called RTS, S/AS01(RTS, S) is expected to save the lives of an additional 40,000 to 80,000 African children annually, says WHO.
So far, more than 155 million U.S. dollars have been secured from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to facilitate the introduction, procurement and delivery of the malaria vaccine to endemic countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the WHO.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said that development of a safe and efficacious vaccine marked a milestone in efforts to eliminate the vector-borne disease in the continent.
“This vaccine is not just a scientific breakthrough; it is life-changing for families across Africa. It demonstrates the power of science and innovation for health,” said Ghebreyesus.
He stressed there was an urgency to develop more sophisticated preventive tools in order to revitalize the war on malaria in Africa that accounts for more than 94 percent of the global malaria burden.