africa feels more empowered to fight malaria with new rtss drug

Africa Feels More Empowered to Fight Malaria With New RTS,S Drug

Last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 07:17 am

Ahead of World Malaria Day, (April 25), more than one million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi could be administered with at least one dose of the first malaria vaccine. The continent continues its fight against the disease. According to WHO statistics, 90 percent of the 241 million cases come from the African continent itself. Additionally, almost 95 percent deaths (602,000).

Africa has had a major issue with not being able to produce its own vaccines. Even in Covid-19 times, it was heavily dependent on outside support. This is one reason it has been difficult to control the spread of the disease. Also, famine, malnutrition and minimal access to clean drinking water are other factors that have let the disease fester for too long.

The “RTS, S” vaccine is a breakthrough drug that was introduced in 2019. Since then, it has been saving lives and is estimated to do so for another 40,000 to 80,000 children per year in sub-Saharan Africa and high-risk areas. The new vaccine works against the mosquito-borne parasite, Plasmodium Falciparum, the deadliest parasite worldwide and the most prevalent in Africa.

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The RTS,S is manufactured by the British pharma company GSK. It is a first-generation vaccine and could be complimented by others with similar or higher efficacy in the future, the WHO has confirmed in a media statement.

Under the Ministry of Health, Kenya, there is a the ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ Campaign Coalition in progress. Under this, the drive is to immunize as many children as possible. It is a sad fact but every year, some 260,000 children die of Malaria. Malaria is a very old disease and it can be fatal if not treated in time. More than $155 million has been mobilised by the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) to enable the delivery of these vaccines. Africa puts up a fight against Malaria on ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25 with Ghana, Kenya and Malawi inoculating 1 million children