The Ministry of Health of Liberia, in partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has announced the arrival of 112,000 doses of the RTS, S malaria vaccine – a pivotal moment in Liberia’s battle against malaria.
This move makes Liberia the fourth African country to receive the malaria vaccine after Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and the Benin Republic.
Children under the age of five in Liberia face alarming rates of malaria infection, with a prevalence rate of 10%.
The introduction of the RTS, S vaccine represents a significant stride in addressing this preventable mosquito-borne disease, which claims the life of a child under 5 years old every minute in Africa.
Adolphus Clarke, Director of the Expanded Programme on Immunization at the Ministry of Health of Liberia, expressed optimism, stating,
- “The arrival of this life-saving vaccine is a game changer in our fight against malaria. We are committed to ensuring that every child in Liberia has access to this vaccine and is protected from this deadly disease.”
What you should know
- The RTS, S vaccine has undergone successful pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since 2019, demonstrating its safety and efficacy by reducing severe malaria by 30% and malaria-related deaths by 13%.
- Fatima Babiker, Gavi’s Senior Country Manager for Liberia, hailed the occasion as historic, saying, “Gavi is proud to support the rollout of this life-saving vaccine to children in Liberia and across Africa. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that every child has the chance to grow up healthy and free from malaria.”
- The collaborative efforts of WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi are pivotal to the forthcoming rollout of the malaria vaccine in Liberia.
- WHO is providing technical guidance, focusing on epidemiological analysis, determining priority districts, integrating the vaccine into routine immunization for wider uptake, and supporting vaccine administration in targeted regions.
Dr. Clement Peter, WHO Representative in Liberia, emphasized the significance of global collaboration, stating,
- “The arrival of the malaria vaccine in Liberia is a testament to the power of global collaboration. WHO is committed to working with our partners to ensure that this vaccine reaches all children who need it.”
Amadou Cisse, UNICEF Representative in Liberia, a.i., described the moment as a day of hope for millions of children in Africa, stating, “UNICEF is proud to be part of this historic effort to bring the malaria vaccine to children in Liberia and across the continent. We are confident that this vaccine will save countless lives.”
The arrival of the malaria vaccine in Liberia marks a substantial stride forward in the fight against this deadly disease.
With ongoing collaboration and support, the Government of Liberia aims to ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and free from malaria. The Ministry of Health of Liberia plans to commence vaccinations in April 2024. Source: nairametrics.com