Kenya launches Malaria Vaccination Drive
Kenya has started administering doses of the worlds only licensed malaria vaccine to young children in rural areas facing high transmission rates. Kenya is the third African country after Ghana and Malawai to introduce the vaccine.
The aim of the vaccination drive is to reach about 360,000 children per year across the three countries and about 120,000 Kenyan children were expected to be vaccinated under the pilot programme.
Kenya’s Burden of Malaria
Malaria is one of the top killer diseases in Africa. As per the data of the World Health organisation the African region accounted for 92% of the cases and 93% of malaria deaths in 2017.
About 435,000 people die every year due to malaria and children under five account for two-thirds of all global deaths from the mosquito-borne illness.
Vaccine against Malaria
The lab name of the vaccine is RTS,S. It targets the deadliest and most common form of the malaria parasite in Africa. The shots are administered over four doses.
The vaccine was developed by British multinational pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline and partners after their work of over 30 years and at a cost of around $1 billion. The pharmaceutical is donating up to 10 million vaccine doses in the current vaccination initiatives.
Malaria is caused by the infectious Plasmodium spreads through Female Anopheles mosquitoes which deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host.