Home News Procure malaria vaccines to reduce under-five deaths, NMA tells FG

Procure malaria vaccines to reduce under-five deaths, NMA tells FG

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

As Nigeria today joins the global community to mark the 2022 World Malaria Day, President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, has asked the Federal Government to procure the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved malaria vaccine for children.

Prof Ujah says the use of the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children will go a long way in reducing under-five malaria-related deaths in the country.

He noted that the WHO described the vaccine as a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control because it can really help to reduce under-five deaths caused my malaria.

Besides the Federal Government, the researcher said the private sector also has a role to play in making the vaccine available to children in Nigeria.

The WHO in 2021 approved the first malaria vaccine in history.

WHO experts concluded that the vaccine, Mosquirix, could save tens of thousands of lives every year, noting that “the real-world test of the jab showed it prevented 30 per cent of severe cases of malaria even in areas with high uptake of other measures.”

WHO said the recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

According to WHO, in 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide with Africa accounting for roughly 94 per cent.

The global health body added that in 2019 alone, an estimated 409,000 deaths from malaria were recorded globally with children under the age of five accounting for an estimated 274,000, amounting to 67 per cent of the deaths.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, accounted for 23 per cent of malaria deaths – the highest in the world, according to the world malaria report.

WMD celebrated on April 25 annually, is a day set aside by the WHO to raise awareness on the mosquito-borne disease and examine efforts towards prevention, treatment, control and elimination of the illness.

The theme of WMD 2022 is ‘Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.’

Speaking in an interview with newsmen, Prof. Ujah said the fight against malaria should be everybody’s business, urging all stakeholders to do more to curb the disease.

He said, “Malaria vaccines are now available for children and that should help them. The effect of malaria is more severe in children than in adults. If the government can procure vaccines for children, it will help in reducing the number of children dying from the disease.

“One of the innovative strategies to control malaria is the use of vaccination. That is the most current. But how much of it do we have. The use of malaria vaccine is one of the ways to go in the fight against malaria.”

The NMA leader also called for the sustenance of other malaria control measures such as environmental sanitation, cleanliness and the use of insecticide-treated bed nets.

“Unfortunately, our environment is very dirty; if we are not doing things properly, the disease will remain with us.

“Again, research should be encouraged and documentation is very important. The use of insecticide nets is also key,” he said.

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