Monday, 25 May 2020 | 08:58 WIB

First Ever Malaria Vaccine is Launched in Africa

First Ever Malaria Vaccine is Launched in Africa (malangtoday)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the launching of the world's first malaria vaccine by the Government of Malawi in Africa. The vaccine, known as RTS, S, will be available for children aged two years.

Besides Malawi, Ghana and Kenya will also introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Malaria is one of the world's leading killers, claiming the lives of one child every two minutes. Most of these deaths occur in Africa, where more than 250,000 children die from this disease every year.

Children under five years are at greatest risk of experiencing life-threatening complications. Worldwide, malaria kills 435,000 people a year, most of them children.

"We have seen tremendous benefits from mosquito nets and other measures to control malaria in the last 15 years, but progress has stalled and has even reversed in some areas. "We need a new solution to restore the malaria response to its path, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there," said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as quoted from the WHO website.

He said the malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children's lives. This vaccine is an innovation milestone, where RTS, S is the first, and until now the only, vaccine that significantly reduces malaria in children.

In clinical trials, vaccines were found to prevent about 4 out of 10 cases of malaria, including 3 out of 10 cases of severe life-threatening malaria.

"Malaria is a constant threat in Africa, where this vaccine will be given. The poorest children suffer the most and have the highest risk of dying, "said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

The pilot program in Africa was designed to produce evidence and experience to inform recommendations of WHO policies on wider use of the S-RTS malaria vaccine.

This vaccine is a complementary malaria control tool that will be added to the core package of WHO recommended measures for malaria prevention, including the use of mosquito nets treated with insecticides on a regular basis, indoor spraying with insecticides, and timely use and testing of malaria.