Nigeria left out of African countries to get malaria vaccine

NIGERIA was left out as 12 African countries were selected to receive 18 million doses of the first-ever RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine, 2023–2025.

The vaccine has been released by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

The vaccine is the first recommended to prevent malaria in children below five years of age by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The three organisations, Gavi, WHO and UNICEF, disclosed this in a joint statement on Thursday, July 6.

The statement noted that the beneficiaries will begin the rollout by 2024.

The selected African countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Nigeria was exempted from the benefitting countries, even though malaria is endemic in the country. The disease, transmitted from insect bites, is a life-threatening condition in Nigeria.

Malaria is one of the highest disease burdens, with high fatality rates in the country.

According to the WHO, Nigeria accounts for an estimated 38.4 per cent of global malaria deaths in children under five years.

    However, the statement noted that the allocations were determined through the application of the principles outlined in a framework that prioritises areas of highest need, risk and death of children.

    The vaccine has also been administered to more than 1.7 million children in three African countries — Ghana, Kenya and Malawi — as part of a pilot program.

    “The RTS -S/AS01 vaccine has been administered to more than 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since 2019 and is safe and effective, resulting in a substantial reduction in severe malaria and a fall in child deaths. At least 28 African countries have expressed interest in receiving the malaria vaccine.

    “In addition to Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, the initial 18 million dose allocation will enable nine more countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, to introduce the vaccine into their routine immunisation programmes for the first time,” the statement released by Gavi, WHO and UNICEF said.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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