Children aged two years and below from Western and Nyanza regions stand to benefit from First Generation Malaria Vaccine (RTS, S) to be rolled out by April, 2019 and to run for four years.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the vaccine has been researched for 30 years and is the first malaria vaccine that has shown to provide partial protection against malaria in young children by acting against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa.
At a meeting with Busia Deputy Governor and acting Health Executive, Hon. Moses Mulomi on plans to roll out the vaccine in the County, the Head of National Vaccines and Immunization Program Dr. Collins Tabu said the vaccine which will be rolled out on pilot basis is a historic one in the whole world and especially in Kenya in the fight against malaria.
“Busia is one of the counties we are rolling out the vaccination program on pilot basis so as to understand how the vaccine will reach each child and the impact on malaria before we roll out to the rest,” said Dr. Tabu as he applauded the counties which have accepted the program to safeguard the health of its people.
Dr. Tabu also said that only three countries in Africa including Kenya, Malawi and Ghana were selected to roll out the vaccination pilot exercise which will be available in a routine immunization of a 4-dose schedule with a target of at least 360,000 children per year across the three pilot countries.
The Director of Malaria at Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Kisumu, Aaron Samuels said this is a historic and groundbreaking opportunity to reduce child mortality and burden in the communities.
“This is the first malaria vaccine to have been implemented on a large scale. We feel honored to have been selected to work with you and evaluate and demonstrate the impact that we all believe in; I know we are all going to do a phenomenal job,” said Samuels, adding that the vaccine is able to prevent to about 40% of cases of malaria and thus a reduction on severe anemia.
DG Mulomi said this is a step forward in the management and fight against malaria considering that Busia is one of the endemic areas and pledged to cooperate with the team for the program to roll out as planned.
“We look forward to sensitize our people on the various needs through public participation and other appropriate communication systems to inform the recipients and also give them confidence that the vaccine has been evaluated ,” he said, adding that safety levels are guaranteed so that we can get actual results which will be beneficial to everybody.