On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the widespread use of the world’s first children’s malaria vaccine, calling it a breakthrough in “science, children’s health, and malaria control.”
The RTS Malaria Vaccine S / AS01 recommendation is based on the results of an ongoing pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi launched in 2019.
WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on malaria vaccine recommendations that vaccines can save the lives of tens of thousands of young people each year in addition to existing malaria prophylaxis tools. rice field.
“This is a powerful new tool, but like Covid-19 vaccines, it’s not the only tool. Vaccination against malaria does not replace or reduce the need for other measures, including bednets, or seeking care for fever,”the WHO chief told the media briefing.
He recalls his early career as a malaria researcher and says he longs for the day when the world has an effective vaccine against this “horrible ancient illness.”
“Today is that day; an historic day,” he added.
Malaria is transmitted by being bitten by an infected Anopheles mosquito. Mosquito-borne illnesses cause illnesses such as fever, chills, and the flu. Without immediate treatment, patients can develop serious complications and die. According to the United Nations Department of Health, children under the age of five are the most vulnerable group to malaria.
According to WHO estimates, nearly half of the world’s population is at risk for mosquito-borne disease in 2019, with the majority of cases and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Two-thirds of those deaths are children under five in Africa,” he said.