Health

Three African countries to pilot malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) is piloting malaria vaccines in three African countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

It is reported that the RTS,S vaccine will be made available to over 700,000 children aged between five and 17 months. The expected doses advised are once a month for three months and a fourth dose 18 months later.

The effectiveness of this vaccine is not guaranteed.

According to the BBC, ‘in this age group, the four doses have been shown to prevent nearly four in ten cases of malaria. This is much lower than approved vaccines for other conditions.

The report adds that the benefits (of the vaccine) fall off significantly without the ‘crucial’ fourth dose.

The three countries were selected to pilot the initiative because of their progressive efforts to combat malaria.

Dr. Thomas Churcher of Imperial College London revealed that although the introduction of this $50 million project is a step closer to one day eradicating the disease, “the current vaccine is only partially effective, and that the effectiveness wears off quite quickly with time. “

The malaria vaccine is expected to be available in 2018 and the selected countries will decide how to run the pilot vaccines.

Meanwhile, WHO has declared its commitment to eradicating malaria in Angola by 2020.

The agency, via its regional director for Africa, Jean Marie Kipela made this commitment at the recently concluded World Malaria Day, on 25 April.

WHO is expected to partner with local organizations, as well as neighbouring countries to combat the spread of the malaria disease that is a major cause of death on the African continent.

Distribution of mosquito nets, support of epidemiological surveillance and monitoring system, as well as ensuring the availability of tests and medicine are some of the areas of support promised by the health organization.

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