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Cameroon first country to nationally roll out malaria vaccine

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The African country Cameroon has become the first to implement a nation-wide roll out of a new malaria vaccine.
Cameroon is rolling out a malaria vaccine

In a world first, the African country of Cameroon has launched a national malaria vaccine program.

The RTS,S vaccine was recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2021 for children in regions where malaria outbreaks are common.

Cameroon is one of 11 countries in the world most affected by malaria. Nearly 4,000 Cameroonians died from malaria in 2021.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a disease spread by certain species of parasite-infected mosquitos.

When an infected mosquito bites a human, it can pass on the infected parasite to a person’s blood.

Severe malaria symptoms can include convulsions, breathing difficulty, abnormal bleeding, and extreme fatigue.

Anti-malarial medicines can be taken before travelling to a malaria-affected area.

Where is it found?

608,000 people died of malaria in 2022, when global annual cases reached 249 million, according to the latest World Malaria report.

Africa has the largest share of malaria outbreaks in the world, accounting for about 94% of total cases.

Children under five-years-old made up nearly 80% of all malaria deaths in Africa.

Malaria vaccine

In 2021, the WHO recommended a new malaria vaccine called RTS,S in affected African regions after a successful pilot program in parts of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

More than two million children have received four doses of the malaria vaccine during the program.

U.S. researchers have found the vaccine was effective in 36% of children aged five to 17 months old who received four jabs.

Cameroon

Earlier this week, Cameroon became the first country to begin a nationwide rollout of the malaria vaccine. Twin children in the capital Yaoundé were the first to receive their jabs.

Cameroon received about 331,000 doses of the vaccine late last year, with stocks expected to increase in coming weeks.

Other African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, and Liberia, are all finalising plans to roll out the vaccine later this year.

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