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Cameroon Initiates World’s First Malaria Vaccination Programme For Children

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On Monday, Cameroon initiated the world’s first systematic vaccination programme against malaria, a mosquito-borne illness that is thought to save the lives of tens of thousands of children annually throughout Africa. This move marked a significant advancement in the fight against malaria worldwide.

The British pharmaceutical company GSK spent almost 40 years developing the RTS,S vaccine, which was authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is intended to be used in conjunction with bed nets and other current instruments to fight malaria. Malaria is a disease that kills almost 500,000 children under the age of five every year in Africa.

According to international vaccine alliance Gavi, Cameroon is the first nation to deliver doses through a routine vaccination scheme that 19 other nations aim to roll out this year, following successful trials conducted in Ghana and Kenya, among other countries.

Through 2024–2025, 6.6 million children in these nations are expected to receive malaria vaccinations.

At a joint online briefing with the WHO, Gavi, and other organisations, Mohammed Abdulaziz of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated, “For a long time, we have been waiting for a day like this.”

It is obvious how urgent this is. The fight against malaria has been hampered recently by disruptions related to the COVID-19 epidemic, increasing pesticide resistance, and other problems; by 2022, the WHO estimated that the number of cases increased by around 5 million annually.

All told, over thirty African nations have shown interest in launching the vaccine, and since a second vaccine passed a crucial regulatory hurdle in December, concerns about a shortage have subsided.

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