Malawi Embraces Malaria Vaccination
The Ministry of Health will include the malaria vaccine in its childhood immunization programs after the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the Mosquirix malaria vaccine for use following years of testing in three African countries.
Health ministry spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe told us the vaccine will help boost immunity and subsequently fight malaria among children who are heavily affected by the disease.
Without disclosing the exact time this will start, Chikumbe said the ministry has already been giving malaria vaccines to children in some districts in its pilot phase.
Said Chikumbe, “it will not be a tool-order because we have been doing this for the past two years in 11 districts that we started with, in the introductory phase.
All we were waiting for was ‘the go-ahead' now that we have it, we will start mobilizing resources and as soon as we have enough consignment we will roll out to the rest of the districts.”
The vaccine is administered in four doses and Chikumbe says they will ensure children get all shots before they reach 2 years.
For the first, the WHO on Wednesday announced it had given a stamp of approval to a vaccine against malaria for children after encouraging results from a pilot study.
The Mosquirix vaccine which has been under development for over 30 years, was experimented in Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana from 2019, reaching out to over 800,000 children.
In his announcement, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control.
The development has excited stakeholders in the health sector who have described it as the answer to a big problem.
Health rights activist Maziko Matemba is optimistic the vaccine will work well in Malawi having participated in its pilot.
“The vaccine will work much better in Malawi; its efficacy will be high since the vaccine has been developed based on a pilot in the country and we only urge that Malawi will be a major beneficiary.” Said Matemba.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that causes fever and chills and in severe cases anemia, seizures, and respiratory problems. Despite being treatable, malaria kills more than 400,000 people every year globally, most of them children.