The fight against malaria gained momentum after the federal government provisionally approved the use of malaria vaccines in children. The R21/Matrix malaria vaccine was developed by scientists at the University of Oxford. The government’s approval of a malaria vaccine comes days after Ghana became the first country to approve a vaccine reported to be 80% effective against her. Malaria vaccine is manufactured by Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd.
Disclosing this to the press in Abuja, the Director General of the National Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), Professor Mozisora Adiyai, confirmed that the vaccine had passed rigorous testing in line with global standards. And following satisfactory test results, the government approved it for use in children.
“The R21 malaria vaccine is an adjuvanted protein vaccine provided as a sterile solution,” said the NAFDAC boss. That’s what I mean.
The new malaria vaccine R21, which may be an improved version of another vaccine called RTS,S, according to reports, was approved by the WHO in October 2021 for widespread use in areas with significant malaria. Similarly, WHO has also approved the RTS,S/ASO1 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine for widespread use in children in sub-Saharan Africa and other moderate-to-high Plasmodium falciparum areas. The recommendations are based on the results of pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that have reached more than 900,000 children since 2019, according to reports.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, children’s health and malaria control. Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent HIV could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
Malaria is undoubtedly the leading cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year, more than 260,000 of her children under the age of five die of malaria in Africa. This may explain why Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said: Regarding the WHO-approved malaria vaccine, Moeti said: Today’s recommendations bring a glimmer of hope to the continent that bears the heaviest burden of the disease, hoping that more African children will be protected from malaria and grow up to be healthy adults.
While the federal government’s approval of a new malaria vaccine for children is commendable, it is recommended that further clinical trials be conducted in Nigeria to ensure the vaccine is sufficient and safe for children. To do. Beyond new malaria vaccines, governments at all levels need to invest heavily in the health sector to ensure that all Nigerians have access to adequate and affordable healthcare.
The 2022 World Malaria Report showed that there were an estimated 619,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2021, compared with 625,000 in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic hit in 2019, 568,000 people died from malaria. However, the number of malaria cases continued to increase from 2020 to 2021, but at a slower pace from 2019 to 2020. Overall, the global tally of malaria cases will reach 247 million in 2021. Compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019.
Unfortunately, the WHO Africa Region continues to account for a disproportionately high proportion of the global malaria burden. The region accounts for about 95% of all malaria cases and 96% of malaria deaths in 2021. Children under the age of five account for approximately 80% of all malaria deaths in the region.
Nigeria and three other African countries account for more than half of all malaria deaths worldwide. Nigeria (31.3%), Democratic Republic of Congo (12.6%), United Republic of Tanzania (4.1%) and Niger (3.9%). We therefore urge governments to do more to win the fight against malaria.