Health

Malaria vaccine has reached over 1m children in Africa, says WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says over one million children in Africa have received the malaria vaccine.

The breakthrough vaccine named RTS,S was first launched in Malawi in April 2019 and found to be safe and substantially reduce severe cases of the disease.

The WHO recommended the widespread deployment of the vaccine for children living in sub-Saharan Africa and areas at risk in October 2021, and said its pilot scheme could save the lives of between 40,000 and 80,000 children in Africa each year.

In a statement on Thursday, the WHO said “more than one million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have now received one or more doses of the malaria vaccine”.

It added that more than $155 million has been secured from Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to support the introduction, procurement, and delivery of the malaria vaccine for Gavi-eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking on the development, Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said “as a malaria researcher in my early career, I dreamed of the day we would have an effective vaccine against this devastating disease”.

“This vaccine is not just a scientific breakthrough, it’s life-changing for families across Africa,” he added.

“It demonstrates the power of science and innovation for health. Even so, there is an urgent need to develop more and better tools to save lives and drive progress towards a malaria-free world.” Culled: TheCable.

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