Communities hail Malaria Vaccine Programme in Karonga

By Lusekero Mhango

KARONGA-(MaraviPost)-Mothers in Karonga have hailed the malaria vaccine programme that has been implemented in the district, Saying the vaccine will assist in reducing the Malaria outbreak among the under 5 children.

Health officials say Malaria account for over 30% of registered cases for under 5 in the Out-Patient Department (OPD) in health facilities across Karonga.

RTS’s is the first and to date the only vaccine to show partial protection against malaria in young children. It acts against P. falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa.

One mother to a 9-month old baby from Malema Village in TA Kyungu, Frida Kapila hailed the introduction of the vaccine programme, saying malaria is a deadly and killer disease not only for children but adults too.

“Having experience how Malaria hit, I wanted my baby to be protected hence when I was told of the vaccine, I was keen for my child to get it, and I urge fellow women in the communities to embrace it.

District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO) Lewis Tukula said as health authorities they are hopeful that the vaccine will reduce the number of life-threatening infections which come due to complications of the disease.

“The community’s response to the vaccine has been overwhelming and we are happy by the large turnouts of mothers in health facilities where the vaccine is being administered,” said Tukula.

Tukula further called upon the communities to continue using other malaria prevention measures such as bed nets to protect themselves from malaria infection.

The pilot vaccine programme is being piloted in 11 districts in Malawi and two other African countries of Ghana and Kenya was and targets about 360,000 children, with 120,000 in Malawi.

Among others, children who received 4 doses in large-scale clinical trials, the vaccine prevented approximately 4 in 10 cases of malaria and 3 in 10 cases of severe malaria over a four-year period.

The RTSs pilot programme is being funded by the Gavi, the vaccine alliance; the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria among others with PATH and GSK providing additional contributions, with GSK donating up to 10 million doses of the vaccine.

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