Kenya Becomes Third Country to Adopt World's First Malaria VaccineSeptember 13, 2019 10:49
(Image source from: businesslive.co.za)
Kenya on Friday became the third country in the world to use the world’s first vaccine to malaria, a disease that puts 800 children to death globally every day.
The vaccine ‘RTS, S’,S aims to trigger the immune system to defend against the first stages of the disease, when the deadliest and most common form of malaria parasite enters the human host's bloodstream through a mosquito bite and infects liver cells.
Children under the age of five account for two-thirds of all global deaths from the mosquito-borne illness.
Kenya is rolling out the vaccine in the western country of Homa Bay, joining Malawi and Ghana, which earlier this year commenced their own pilot vaccination programs supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Richard Mihigo, WHO's coordinator of immunization and vaccine development program said RTS, S is the most advanced malaria vaccine that we have today. It has been in the making for the last almost three decades.
He said children are the most in peril group to this severe disease, so protecting children can make a big impact in preventing malaria.
Malaria is one of the most prevalent diseases in Africa, where illness and death from the disease remain high despite gains.
According to the World Health Organization, the vaccine helped to prevent about four in 10 cases of malaria and three in 10 cases of the most severe, life-threatening form of the disease, within the trial group.
The organization says a child dies roughly every two minutes from malaria somewhere in the world, mostly from Africa, where more than 90 percent of the world's malaria cases and fatalities take place.
By Sowmya Sangam