Kenya to pilot World’s First malaria vaccine

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 24, 2017 Three African countries including Kenya have been selected to take part in a World Health Organization (WHO) coordinated malaria vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP).

The MVIP which will make the World’s first malaria vaccine available in select areas beginning in 2018 will also be introduced in Ghana and Malawi, the WHO announced on Monday.

The three countries were chosen because they run large programmes to tackle malaria including the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN), well functioning malaria and immunization programmes with good coverage.

The injectable vaccine, RTS, S, was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria caused by plasmodium falciparum. RTS, S will be assessed in the pilot programme as a complimentary malaria control tool that could potentially be added to the core package of WHO recommended measures for malaria prevention.

The Monday announcement was made ahead of the World Health Day observed on April 25 of every year. Each country will decide on how to run the pilots.

The move is expected to boost the country’s effort in the fight against the disease. Kenya adopted universal coverage with prevention measures as a key strategy through the use of LLIN. So far the government has distributed 16 million LLINs in 36 counties. Currently 63% of households own at least one LLIN, an improvement from 44% in 2010 which shows an increase from 61% to 71% over the last five years.

According to Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Cleopa Mailu, the Ministry of Health and partners shall continue to provide quality diagnosis and effective treatment in all public health facilities. “Currently 87% of our health facilities have the capacity to diagnose malaria. Through capacity- building mentorship and supervision, 97% of all confirmed malaria cases received the recommended medicine,” Dr.  Mailu said during the High Level Forum on malaria prevention.

Dr. Mailu commended the partnership between the Government, development partners, the private sector, the civil society and the communities arguing it has contributed immensely to the achievements in the fight against malaria in the country.