WHO to roll out first Malaria vaccine in Africa
MALAWI: As the World Health Organisation announces the next step in its rollout of the world’s first authorised Malaria vaccine in three African countries, concerns about its value have come from an unlikely source: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, arguably the vaccine’s biggest backer.
WHO endorsed the vaccine last fall as a “historic” breakthrough in the fight against malaria, but the Gates Foundation told The Associated Press this week it will no longer offer direct financial support to the shot although it will fund an alliance backing the vaccine. Explaining its decision to end support after spending more than US$200 million and several decades getting the vaccine to market, he said the shot is relatively expensive and logistically challenging to deliver.
The Gates Foundation’s decision to pivot away from supporting the rollout of the vaccine in Africa was made years ago after detailed deliberations, including whether the foundation’s money would be better spent on other malaria vaccines, treatments or production capacity, Welkhoff said.
The world is struggling to contain the spike in malaria seen since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted efforts to stop the parasitic disease, which killed more than 620,000 people in 2020 and caused 241 million cases, mainly in children under 5 in Africa, Craig said.
Dr. Michael Kayange of Malawi’s Ministry of Health, urged everyone in the country to take whatever measures they can to curb malaria. Immunization itself is insufficient to stop the disease and people should adopt multiple strategies, he said.
“Even just by sleeping under a mosquito net, you have played your role in reducing the Malaria burden in the country,” he said.
– FRANCE 24