World’s first vaccination campaign against malaria in Cameroon

The starting signal of the world’s first vaccination campaign against malaria: A large-scale vaccination campaign against the tropical disease has been launched in Cameroon. A six-month-old baby was among the first to receive the potentially life-saving injection at a small hospital in the town of Soa. Nurses celebrated the start of their country’s vaccination campaign by singing as little Noah Ngah received the vaccine.

“Some parents are hesitant, but I know vaccines are good for children,” said Noah’s mother, Helene Akono, who also wants her twin sister to be vaccinated. The hospital in Soa, about 20 kilometers from the capital Yaounde, is one of the many vaccination centers established in the African country with a population of 28 million. Vaccinations are made with the RTS,S factor, which is the first vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) against malaria.

More than 300,000 RTS,S doses were transported to Cameroon in November through a joint international campaign. It then took another two months to organize the launch of the current vaccination campaign. All children up to six months must now be vaccinated in stages; Vaccinations are free. This is mainly funded by the international vaccine alliance Gavi.

The start of the world’s first large-scale vaccination campaign, following pilot projects in Ghana and Kenya, is being celebrated as “historic” by experts. “30 percent of doctor visits in Cameroon are due to malaria,” said Aurelia Nguyen of vaccine alliance Gavi. “Having a measure such as a vaccine now at our disposal will ease the burden on the healthcare system and lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and deaths.” After the vaccination campaign begins in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone will soon follow them.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. The disease poses a major health risk in Africa, especially for young children, given that resistance to commonly used antimalarial drugs is increasingly common.

In 2021, 247 million malaria infections were counted worldwide and 619,000 patients died. 95 percent of global infections and 96 percent of deaths were recorded in Africa.

(APA/AFP)

Source: Vienna

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