World’s First Malaria Vaccine To Go To 360,000 African Children

The children of Africa are finally going to receive immunization against one of the most dreadful diseases in the world, Malaria. It has taken almost thirty years for the vaccine to reach Malawi in Africa. This pilot initiative is hailed as a much-needed effort of the moment by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Around 360,000 children are to benefit through this vaccination and Malawi is among the first within the three African countries to receive the benefit. Kenya and Ghana are to follow suit in the next few weeks, says WHO. The vaccine is to be administered to children up to the age of two. The Health Ministries of the area will decide where the vaccine will be given next.

The deadly disease which almost takes away the lives of around 435,000 people every year is spread by Anopheles Mosquitoes. The disease can be treated as well as prevented. Since there are no precautionary measures taken by people it claims the lives of many people each year.

According to a health report released by WHO, children are most vulnerable to this disease, particularly children under the age of five. Mostly, many of these deaths are from Africa and a whopping number of 250,000 children die every year here.

The Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,  is of the opinion that there are many measures taken by the people in recent days, including the installation of bed nets. However, the progress that has been slow and steady has not been enough and in some areas the progress has gone in reverse.

The nonprofit organization PATH has recommended the distribution of this vaccine Mosquirix otherwise called as RTS,S, which is a creation of the pharmaceutical giant GSK. The vaccine is clinically tested for many years and is proven to be very effective in the prevention of malaria. Roughly 4 out of 10 clinical malaria cases have shown protection against the disease.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa reports that children belonging to the poorest section of the society are under a major risk and the vaccine is a much-needed commodity in Africa.

The vaccine is to be given in four doses and WHO looks at reducing the number of deaths through giving this initiative. Children within the age of 5 and 9 months will be given three doses and the fourth dose is to be provided almost at the age of two. The vaccine is considered as a complementary tool. WHO also recommends the use of bed nets which are treated with insecticides and also recommends the use of insecticide sprays for the overall health of the society and in places prone for mosquitoes.

Adrian Hill, a professor of human genetics and director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford has expressed his concern saying that mosquitoes have become immune to the drugs and insecticides. New solutions should be looked at to help people from dying each year. This vaccine developed by GSK is the savior of millions of children right now.

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