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Ghana, Kenya and Malawi set to pilot world's first malaria vaccine

Staff Writer |
Ghana is readying for the smooth pilot of the world's first malaria vaccine later in the year.

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Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will be the first African countries to try out the Mosquirix vaccine, which acts against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa.

Specifically, the pilot implementation program will evaluate the feasibility of delivering the required four doses of the vaccine, impact of the vaccine on lives saved, and the safety of the vaccine in the context of routine use.

The vaccine is being considered as a complementary malaria control tool in Ghana that could potentially be added to and not replace the core package of proven malaria preventive, diagnostic and treatment interventions such as bed nets and indoor spraying with insecticides.

Kezia Malm, Manager of the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), said Ghana was selected for the trial because of its high malaria burden and well-functioning malaria and immunization programs.

Malaria is a dreaded disease which kills more children than any other disease and is the leading cause of miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women in Ghana.

In Ghana, malaria occurs every year with varying transmission intensity throughout the year, affecting all ages, with children under-five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable.

In 2017, Ghana recorded approximately 10.2 million suspected malaria cases in the out-patient department (OPD) in a population of some 30 million people, representing a 23 percent decrease over OPD malaria cases reported in 2016.

Malaria deaths also reduced from 1,264 in 2016 to 599 in 2017, representing a decrease of 52.6 percent.

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