Three more African countries get malaria vaccine

Henry

Three more African countries have received malaria vaccinations for a million children on a continent that records about 95% of all malaria deaths, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Africa represents about 94% of all malaria cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the deaths are children.

Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone join other African countries that offer the malaria vaccination as part of their child immunization programmes, according to a statement by the WHO and Unicef.

More than 2 million children have already been vaccinated in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi since 2019. This led to a significant decrease in serious malarial diseases and hospitalisation.

“With the new, safe and effective malaria vaccine, we now have an additional means to combat this disease,” said Austin Demby, Minister of Health in Sierra Leone. “Together with insect repellent treated nets, effective diagnosis and treatment and indoor irrigation, no child will have to die from malaria.”

Benin has received 215,900 doses and Liberia expects some 45,000 children to benefit from the initial 112,000 doses. Sierra Leone is starting with 550,000 doses before the vaccine is delivered to hospitals nationwide.

Two vaccines, RTS,S and R21, as recommended by the WHO, are considered a breakthrough for child health and malaria control.