NIGERIA: Nigeria has recorded a 23 percent drop in 2020 from 42 percent in 2010 of malaria incidence. “Despite the drop, Nigeria still leads in the index of countries with highest morbidity and mortality rate of malaria globally,” World Health Organization (WHO) says.
This was disclosed by WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus while endorsing the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine, the first against the mosquito-borne affliction that killed over 400,000 people yearly, mostly in the African continent.
Ghebreyesus added that Nigeria accounts for 27 percent of the worldwide malaria cases and 23 percent of global deaths based on data from the World Malaria Report 2020.
“In the next five years, the WHO aims at reducing malaria occurrence to a parasite prevalence of less than 10 people and mortality associated with malaria to less than 50 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2025 as observed in the new malaria strategic plan 2021 to 2025,” Ghebreyesus said.
Ghebreyesus said that after the agency reexamination of facts from Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya, concluded that it was suggesting the extended use of the world’s first malaria vaccine.
Ghebreyesus further stated that it was recommending the widespread application of the vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high mosquito-borne disease transmission.
Many vaccines exist against viruses and bacteria but this was the first time that the WHO is advocating for the broad use of a vaccine against a human parasite.
Speaking from a scientific point of view, the Director of WHO Global Malaria Programme, Pedro Alonso, noted that the idea is an infinite one.
The vaccine will act against plasmodium falciparum, one of the five parasite species and the most deadly, Alonso said.
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Symptoms of malaria
Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, Kate O’Brien, identifies malaria symptoms to be fever, headaches and muscle pain.
Others include cycles of chills, fever, and sweating.
“To achieve our aim of taking the newly recommended vaccine to Africa, the next in the line of action is funding,” O’Brien noted.
“That will be the next major step. Then we will be set up for distribution of doses and decisions about where the vaccine will be most useful and how it will be deployed,” O’Brien said.
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