Malaria vaccine on track in Malawi

Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP)   to give partial protection to children  which was  rolled out in 11 districts in April this year has started bearing fruits.

Malaria vaccine for children

A senior Health Surveillance Assistants  (HSA) from three selected health facilities in three districts in Malawi, interviewed, have confirmed jointly that since the rolling out of the Malaria vaccine the numbers of children coming to seek medical care after suffering from the disease have drastically been reduced.

Denis Nkuna a senior HSA at Bereu Health Center in the area of Traditional Authority Maseya in Chikwawa said:”Before this vaccination we used to receive 130 children to receive treatment but now am happy to report that we receive only 86 kids from the target catchment area of 23,000 people.”

He said the clinic has registered tremendous achievement hoping that soon or later figures will be reduced more.

Nkuna  said there is such progress because of good working relationship amongst stakeholders such as chiefs, local community and religious leadership.

Emily Mphadzula from Bereu community testified that since the exercise her one year child has never gone to hospital to seek malaria treatment.

The same information applied in Mangochi Malukula Health Centre where the Senior HSA Boyd Nkhonjera said the members of staff there have registered good progress to the effect that they are targetting 45 children monthly so that they continue enjoying the fruits which the vaccine is bearing.

Nkhonjera said currently the pressure on medical staff which comes as a result of malaria is reduced.

Village Headman Mbalule in the same area of Malukula said they will continue sensitising their community in order to continue registering positive development.

In Nkhatabay,  Mpamba Health centre Senior HSA Godfrey Phiri said he was happy that the community had welcomed the vaccination well.

Phiri said this is happening because of sensitization which they did with community stakeholders and local leadership.

He said currently the only challenge was that number of members of staff are not matching with the work demand.

“We are just waiting for our seniors to help on this as you are aware we have other immunization already and this exits from the already existing schedule.” Said Phiri.

Head of Case Management and focal person on malaria vaccine at the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), John Sande, said the country intends to benefit as time goes.

Sande said the ministry is doing everything possible to resolve all challenges being registered in all the eleven districts.

The vaccine rolled out in April targetting Karonga, Nkhatabay, Ntchisi, Mchinji, Lilongwe, Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Chikwawa, Phalombe and Nsanje

According to World Health Organization, the vaccine reduces malaria prevalence by 39% among children who received 3 doses of RTSS in the age bracket of 5-17 months which is equivalent to preventing nearly 4 in every 10 malaria cases.

It is envisaged that the vaccine against malaria could be a vital new tool in the fight against the debilitating illness as the Ministry of Health starts immunising children in the world’s first large-scale pilot of RTS, S — the candidate vaccine that is furthest along in development.

The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites.

Malawi was chosen together with Ghana and Kenya because they already run large programmes to tackle malaria, including the use of bed nets, yet still have high numbers of cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO), PATH, Unicef and other development partners are supporting the program.

The vaccine is being administered in four intramuscular doses to under five children clinics in the randomly selected areas.

The first dose is given at the age of 5 months the second dose at the age of 6 months the said dose at the age of 7 and 22 months which is 15 months after after the third dose.

The main aim of the vaccine is that when a child receives all the four doses of the vaccine have lower risk of developing clinical malaria as well as severe malaria.

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