The approval of the world’s first malaria vaccine by the World Health Organization is a big step forward in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease that kills over 265,000 children in Africa each year. Bitrus Yusuf pours the syrup into a measuring cup to give to her three-year-old grandson and her malaria-stricken daughter.
He argues that the disease is caused by a mosquito-borne parasite that is all too common in this Abuja camp for internally displaced people in the country. “We went to bed, and everything was fine, and everyone was fine,” Yusuf explained. I did, however, feel him shake around midnight. By touching his (very hot) body, I jolted him awake.
According to the World Health Organization, Africa is responsible for about 94% of malaria infections and deaths globally, with Nigeria accounting for one-quarter of all deaths. Children under the age of five and pregnant women, according to the UN, are the most vulnerable. Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine, was approved by the World Health Organization on Monday.
GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company behind the vaccine, has been working on it for almost three decades. Mosquirix, according to the WHO, has the potential to change the course of public health history. Walter Kazadi Mulombo is the WHO’s representative in Nigeria. “In Nigeria, the vaccine must be certified by NAFDAC before it can be issued, and the government must approve the vaccine in stages before it can be released,” Mulombo explained.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is Nigeria’s food and drug management and control agency. Around 2.3 million doses of the vaccine were given to children in Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana as part of a large-scale trial program that began in 2019. The vaccine, once accessible, might help prevent up to four out of every ten cases of malaria, according to WHO. However, Mulombo warns that em supply may be a challenge early on.
“There may be supply issues,” Mulombo explained, “therefore there may not be enough to reach everyone we need to reach.” “However, we’ve heard that the manufacturer, GSK, is already working on decentralizing production with some African countries.” The new vaccine, according to Ndaeyo Iwot of the Abuja Primary Health Council, does not eliminate the need for traditional malaria prevention methods.
“You are more likely to have the malaria plague in this country because vectors can breed,” Iwot remarked. GlaxoSmithKline has said that it will produce roughly 15 million doses of vaccine per year. However, experts estimate that in places with moderate to high transmission, at least 50 to 100 million doses are required each year. Meanwhile, parents in Nigeria, such as Yusuf, have expressed a wish to get their children immunized as soon as possible.
Obiezu, T. (2021, October 14). New Malaria Vaccine To Benefit Hundreds Of Thousands Of African Children. VOA.