“The vaccine saves lives but it will not be a silver bullet,” said Dr. Githinji Geetahi, chief executive officer of Amref Health Africa, an NGO.
The vaccine, called Mosquirix, targets the deadliest malaria parasite and the most common in Africa – Plasmodium falciparum. While vaccines are “a huge addition to the fight” against malaria, Dr. Health officials will still have to deploy a “Swiss cheese strategy,” Geetahi said, which includes insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying.
Faith Walucho is the mother of an 11-month-old baby who was recently diagnosed with malaria. The 29-year-old used clothing trader in the western Kenya town of Kisumu said he received the news about the vaccines “with great pleasure”. In Kenya, an estimated 10,700 deaths from malaria are recorded annually, and Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria, is one of the high-malaria areas where the vaccine was tested.
As soon as she was able to take a dose for her daughter, Ms Walucho said, “I will run to get it”.
In Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, Genla Mwafulirwa, a 52-year-old mother of five, welcomed the news of the vaccine, saying that many children in her family have been lost to the disease, especially in rural areas with access to health care. is limited.
“This vaccine has come at the right time,” she said.
But in some places, people expressed doubts about the vaccine, due to distrust of the World Health Organization.
“I wonder why they want to help Africa,” said Mamadou Tunkara, a 40-year-old teacher in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. He asked why the WHO didn’t fund better sanitation and hygiene systems instead. “If WHO wants to help eliminate this disease, they can do so without a vaccine.”
Yet public health officials say the vaccine, which has been in development for more than 30 years, has already proven to be a vital weapon in the war against the disease.