Cameroon begins the first-ever global distribution of malaria vaccines

Beginning in Cameroon, the world’s first routine malaria vaccination program is expected to save thousands of children’s lives throughout Africa. A baby girl named Daniella received the symbolic first injection on Monday at a medical institution close to Yaoundé. According to the World Health Organization, 600,000 Africans lose their lives to malaria each year (WHO). Eighty percent or more of those deaths involve children under five. All newborns up to six months old in Cameroon are eligible for a free dose of the RTS,S vaccination.

Four doses are needed in total for each patient. To make things easier for parents, health officials said these will be administered at the same time as other standard kid vaccinations. It follows successful trial programs in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi, where Unicef reports that the vaccination reduced malaria fatalities in children of qualifying age by 13%. According to US experts, the vaccine is known to be successful in at least 36% of cases, which means that it might save more than one in three lives. Willis Akhwale of End Malaria Council Kenya contends that although the implementation is unquestionably a relief and a lifesaver, its comparatively low efficacy rate indicates that it is not a “silver bullet”.

However, it is a valuable supplementary tool for medical professionals in the fight against malaria, in addition to mosquito nets and malaria medications. “We can significantly lower the number of malaria cases and deaths and expedite the disease’s eradication,” physician Shalom Ndoula of Cameroon, who assisted in spearheading the implementation in his nation, stated to BBC Newsday. The British pharmaceutical company GSK spent thirty years researching and developing the RTS,S vaccine. The World Health Organization, which gave the vaccination approval, celebrated the vaccine’s introduction in Cameroon as a turning point in the worldwide battle against the illness spread by mosquitoes.

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