The East African nation of Kenya on Friday became the third country to immunize infants, using the world’s first vaccine against malaria.
Earlier Malawi and Ghana had adopted the vaccine against malaria — the disease killing almost 1000 children globally every day.
Kenyan Health Minister Cicily Kariuki, who inaugurated the vaccination in Homabay County located on the floor of the great rift valley, said that malaria is one of the leading causes of illness and death among children in Kenya.
“Malaria is a leading killer of children and pregnant women across Kenya. The introduction of this vaccine is a major milestone in the war against the deadly disease,” he said. The minister further, said the vaccine will now be included, in routine vaccination program for children.
The vaccine — RTS,S – is a four-dose medication, targeting the deadliest and most common form of malaria parasite in Africa, where children under five account for two-thirds of all global deaths from the mosquito-borne illness.
Talking to Anadoly Agency, Rudi Eggers, the country representative for the World Health Organization in Kenya, said they are still trying to figure out effectiveness of the vaccine in the malaria prone areas.
“Part of what we want to see is how the population deals with it and the impact it will have to curb the deadly disease,” he said.
Homabay County in Kenya was selected for the pilot test, as the Kenyan Health Ministry had marked it as a high-risk area in East Africa.
It is world’s first malaria vaccine, which was undergoing various tests over past many years.
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