Tue. May 28th, 2024

Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone have become the latest African countries to join the world’s first routine vaccine programme against malaria.

The three nations will administer the RTS,S vaccine to children aged five months or older in four scheduled doses.

Benin received 215,900 doses of the vaccine, while Liberia received 112,000 and Sierra Leone 550,000.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef and the global vaccine alliance (Gavi) are coordinating the programme.

They said in a joint statement that the rollout was “a significant step forward for malaria prevention in Africa”, which is the continent most impacted by the disease.

In 2022, 94% of all malaria cases and 95% of global malaria deaths happened in Africa, according to WHO.

The vaccine has already been successfully rolled out in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Pilots in three of those countries caused a 13% drop in the deaths of children eligible to receive the jab.

Several more African countries are expected to join the rollout of the RTS,S vaccine in the coming months, amid an anticipated rollout of R21, the second WHO-approved jab.

By Joy

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