Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, which approximates about 3000 children every day worldwide. Nearly 500,000 African children under the age of five die from this disease annually. In Ghana, there were 5.7 million confirmed malaria cases in 2021, out of which 275 people died, according to the Ghana Ministry of Health.
Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu disclosed in a statement at the launch that Children under the age of five accounted for 1.6 million of those cases and 125 of the reported deaths.
The Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has launched the expansion of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme.
Hon. Agyeman-Manu said Ghana officially introduced the malaria vaccine into its routine immunization programme on May 1 2019 for children under 2 years, by which phase 1 of the exercise was piloted in 42 districts of seven regions across the country.
The seven implementation regions were; Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, Central, Oti, Upper East and Volta.
“In all, there are 93 districts in the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP) regions out of which 42 Districts are currently vaccinating leaving 51 Districts”, he added.
He said the expansion to cover more districts under the MVIP is based on the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation for broader use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine in areas with moderate to high malaria transmission.
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Phase 2 is the expansion to the additional 51 Districts as a continuation of the pilot implementation.
The malaria vaccine which is safe, effective and well tolerated is given to children in four doses, starting from six months, then seven months, nine months and 18 months. The malaria vaccine has been safely given alongside other routine vaccines for over three years now in Ghana.
He urged all caregivers and parents to take full advantage of this opportunity and ensure that they send their eligible children to the Child Health and Nutrition clinics known as Child Welfare Clinics or CWC to be vaccinated against this deadly childhood disease.
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