Malawi rolls out malaria vaccine: 1st nation to immunize kids in landmark pilot

Malawi has become the first country in the world to roll out a K1 billion landmark large-scale pilot of the first malaria vaccine to give partial protection against the disease, giving hope that deaths due to the killer disease will be drastically cut.

Malawi rolls out landmark pilot of first ever child malaria vaccine
Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi: Malawi starts child malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization says Malawi is the first of three countries chosen for the pilot to roll out the vaccine. It aims to immunise 120,000 children aged two years and below. The other two countries, Ghana and Kenya, will introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks.

The three countries were picked because they already run large programmes to tackle malaria, including the use of bed nets, yet still have high numbers of cases.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the vaccine has a 40 per cent effective and is expected to cut malaria prevalence among children from 35 per cent to 25 per cent.

Malawi recorded five million cases of malaria in 2017 out of a population of 17 million and the disease is blamed for high work and school absenteeism rate, high mortality rate among others.

Malango said the prevalence rate is expected to go down further from the 27 percent in due course during the pilot phase of the vaccination period.

Area 18 Health Centre was the centre of the trials by WHO and UNC.

The health centre’s in-charge Kennyson Masiyano said the vaccine trials started way back in 2009.

“Most of the children enrolled in the study did not report any cases of malaria, they did not come for malaria treatment, so this is a big day for Malawi,” said Masiyano.

He said 40 per cent of outpatients at the facility are malaria patients most of whom he said are children and women.

Masiyano said the vaccine will go along with other malaria preventive measures like sleeping in mosquito nets.

The “RTS,S” vaccine was 30 years in the making. The nearly 40% efficacy rate is not as high as vaccines for other diseases, but the WHO said RTS,S will add to the preventative measures already being used, such as bed nets and insecticides.

“Nobody is suggesting that this is a magic bullet,” said Dr David Schellenberg, scientific adviser to the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, in an interview with the BBC.

“It may not sound like much but we’re talking about 40% reduction in severe malaria, which unfortunately still has high mortality even when you have good access to good treatment.”

Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi has described the roll out of the immunization is historic, saying it will change the trajectory of malaria through childhood vaccination.

Muluzi said his Ministry already run large programmes to tackle malaria, including the use of bed nets, yet still have high numbers of cases.

The vaccine needs to be given four times – once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.

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Mzanga Daus
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Mzanga Daus

Under Peter Afa Mutharika we have become a test ground for medicines. Instead of their usual tradition of testing on monkeys and rats, malawians are now their new rats and monkeys. In other words, we are now worse than monkeys and rats in their eyes. DPP woyee!!!

Shamboko
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Shamboko

NOSENSE!Let it go to Souh Africa or Egypt. You want to kill our kids because we are poor. Sick nation with sick leaders. STIPID!

Lamuze
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Lamuze

This is not a clinical trial, get it right please. Ask if you don’t know. Many countries applied for the roll out, out those, 3 were selected including Malawi based on the criteria set by WHO in the expression of interest to pilot malaria vaccine. Malawi including Ghana and Kenya have very good functioning EPI and malaria programs, the coverage of interventions for these two programs are also very good. Additionally, Malawi took part in the phase 3 trial of malaria vaccine. That’s why we have moved from till t pilot or roll out. nothingNothing about us being poor as… Read more »

Achiswe.
Guest

What a stupid comment from ‘Shamboko’. It simply demonstrates ignorance of the first order. It is precisely this kind of thinking that has put our country where it is.

inswa
Guest
inswa

Kkkkkkk Atupele Muluzi kabayitse kaye your kids, nephews, nieces tionerepo…. musatiphere ana athu hiyaaa bayani kaye ana a zinduna

Njolo mpilu
Guest
Njolo mpilu

please school me. Why malawi? Out of all afŕican countries! We are cheap?money? Reseach or trial? Them are refusing all the vaccines on their kids for the sake of ots afyermath. Amati aitism khaya! Ife tilola killing our fiture generation pomwe tilibe zipatala, mankhwala zolongosoka.
Koma nde anthu adya nao ma dollars. No wonder we got EU than UN to monitor our elections
CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY.

AZUNGU ATIUZA

ACHALUME
Guest
ACHALUME

Kodi kuno nde koyesera zithu?