Late on Tuesday, Cameroon got its first shipment of Mosquirix malaria vaccinations developed by the British pharmaceutical company GSK Plc. This comes at a time when Cameroon is struggling to combat the mosquito-borne disease that claims the lives of more than 600,000 people annually throughout the world.
Cameroon became the first African country to get the vaccine after trial programs were conducted in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. A batch of 331,200 vaccine doses, also known as RTS, S, was offloaded at Yaounde’s Nsimalen International Airport, making Cameroon the first African country to receive the vaccine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria continues to be one of the deadliest illnesses in Africa, accounting for the deaths of about half a million children under the age of five every year.
According to the statement made by Cameroon’s Minister of Health Manaouda Malachie, the initial shipment of vaccinations would be distributed to 42 of the country’s 203 health districts.
“Many of our countrymen have lost their lives as a result of this sickness. “Today, we have a vaccine that comes to add to the panoply of measures that have already been rolled out,” Malachi told reporters at Nsimalen. “We are hopeful that this vaccine will help prevent the spread of the disease.”
A health official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity stated that vaccinations will begin either next month or at the beginning of the following year.
According to GSK, more than 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have now gotten at least one dose of the injection, and beginning early next year, it will be carried out in an additional nine malaria-endemic nations, one of which is Cameroon.
According to a statement released jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the global vaccination alliance GAVI will be sending an additional 1.7 million doses of the RTS-S vaccine to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone in the coming weeks.
Doses will be sent to several other African nations during the following few months.
According to Juliette Haenni, a spokesperson for UNICEF, this is a historic moment for the protection of children.
“Children are the primary focus of our attention. “The infants aged six to twenty-four months are the ones we are focusing on because they are the most defenseless,” Haenni explained.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, produced by the University of Oxford in Britain, will become commercially accessible by the middle of 2024.