Posts or Comments 07 June 2023

Vaccine Bill Brieger | 14 May 2023 06:09 pm

Tanzania needs malaria vaccines to reduce malaria burden

David Kanamugire has published a blog on the need to add the malaria vaccine to Tanzania’s arsenal of malaria elimination strategies. The original posting is found in the class blog for the Social & Cultural Basis for Community and Primary Health Programs class at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Below is his perspectives on the issue.

Malaria is still a major public health problem. In 2021, malaria killed an estimated 619,000 people – 95 percent of them in Africa. Children under the age of 5 accounted for 80 percent of Africa malaria deaths. Tanzania is among 4 countries that account for just over half of all global malaria deaths.

The country has significantly reduced malaria cases, from a prevalence of 18% in 2008 to 8.1% in 2022. This reduction is attributed to intervention such as Insecticide Treated bed Nets, Indoor Residual Spray, effective drugs and Malaria Rapid Diagnostic tests.

But recently the global progress on malaria has stalled and this could be due to emerging drug resistance, insecticide resistance and the spreading of invasive species Anopheles stephensi. For the past 3 years, the global malaria death remains above 600,000. Therefore there is need for new approaches to help in efforts to prevent and control malaria.

Photo: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Vaccines are safe and cost-effective way combat communicable diseases and improve health outcomes. One of malaria vaccine that have been approved by the WHO is R21. It was developed by Oxford and is produced at a large scale by the Serum Institute of India.

The R21 vaccine is cheap and can be easily produced thus making it ideal for Africa countries. The R21 is also effective against malaria as three initial doses followed by a booster give up to 80 percent protection against malaria.

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