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Nigeria be to prioritise in malaria vaccine

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Action should be taken against malaria as the government did against polio.

In a visit to the Primary Healthcare Centre located in Karu, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on Thursday, Gavi, an international organisation, assured to give priority to Nigeria in the distribution of Malaria vaccine over time. This was disclosed by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate. He said that the government should take action against malaria like it did against polio. He added that Gavi has now assured the nation will be given preference in the new vaccine’s ultimate global distribution.

However, this does not imply that there will be no more bed nets and no more treatment, but at least there are new mechanisms to combat malaria. In order to provide the children with potentially lifesaving Vaccines, the minister highlighted the significant commitment made by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the State Government, and development partners. Nevertheless, he pointed out that there were still many children who were not immunised and that it was necessary to make sure that they were.

It was first excluded from the vaccine-receiving nations.

Earlier in the month of July, Nigeria was not included on the list of twelve countries across various regions in Africa that were selected to get 18 million doses of the first-ever RTS,S/AS01 Malaria Vaccine between the years 2023 and 2025. The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine is the first vaccination that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended for use in order to prevent malaria in children living in regions with a transmission rate that ranges from moderate to high.

In 2019, the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme, which is supervised by WHO and aided by Gavi, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and Unitaid, began distributing the vaccine in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, according to Gavi joint statement. Over 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have received the RTS,S/AS01 vaccination since 2019, and the results have been promising. There is a significant decrease in cases of severe malaria and a decrease in Child Mortality. The vaccine has attracted the attention of at least 28 African nations.

More countries will be included in the 18 million doses.

Furthermore, the initial 18 million dose allocation will also allow nine more nations to include the vaccine in their routine immunisation programmes for the first time: Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. On the other hand, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the NPHCDA, explained why Nasarawa State was selected: the state has placed a premium on primary healthcare and immunisations. Since this was the case, Shuaib assured them that their efforts would show results within a few weeks.

David Marlow, the chief executive officer of Gavi, emphasised that the visit’s purpose was to make sure they acknowledge their need and their challenges, as Gavi is in the profession of protecting the nations where it operates. Furthermore, the solid collaboration that has existed between them since the year 2000 would be maintained. As a result, they have been very active in Nigeria, where there has been a lot of success in improving health care in general but where there is still a lot of room for improvement.

The country has the most significant record of low vaccination.

Currently, Nigeria has the world’s largest population of children who have never received a single dose of vaccine. They have an unprecedented opportunity to save the lives of millions of people by bringing lifesaving vaccines like those against malaria to the country. Given the significance of their relationship, they will make every effort to help their local communities and the nation. He remarked that the people had time there and that he would listen carefully to what they had to say so that they may go back and improve their work. Also, Luka Panya Baba, the Etsu of Karu, expressed gratitude to Gavi and the government for bringing lifesaving vaccines to his community.


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