Kenya set to receive the world’s first vaccine against malaria

Kenya set to receive the world’s first vaccine against malaria

Kenya is now among three countries that will get the world’s first vaccine against malaria.

The vaccine has been tested extensively in more than 15,000 children is now set to be introduced in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi starting next year.

The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite which is spread through mosquito bites.

According to the World Health Organization, the jab has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

The vaccine needs to be given four times, once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.

Kenya was chosen as it already runs large programmes to tackle malaria including the use of bed nets, yet still have high numbers of malaria cases.

Last year, the viral disease dropped from 11 per cent to 8 per cent in the country drop with the Lake Region recording a drop from 38 per cent to 27 per cent.

Coast region has recorded an increase from 4 per cent to 8 per cent of malaria prevalence last year.

According to the Ministry of Health the highest burden of the disease is witnessed in the lake region followed by coast region while central region has the lowest burden.

“In the coast region we have witnessed a slight increase in the prevalence of malaria from 4 per cent to 8 per cent. We would work together with county health departments to find out the reason that has caused the increase,” said Jackson Kioko, the medical services director at the Ministry of Health.

Malaria infections have been attributed mostly to self-medication and non use of mosquito nets.