The Minister for Health (MoH), Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has launched the expansion of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme to deliver malaria vaccines to thousands of children at high risk of malaria illnesses and death in Ghana.
The ceremony to launch the expansion of the malaria vaccine implementation programme was held in the Sunyani East Municipality in the Bono Region on Monday.
The malaria vaccine Mosquirix–RTS,S, the first vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent malaria and significantly reduce life-threatening severe malaria in children, is expected to save thousands of lives each year with this expansion programme.
In his remarks, Mr Agyeman-Manu noted the significance of the malaria vaccine intervention towards the elimination of malaria.
“Vaccination saves children’s lives; it is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions and the best way to help children to survive,” Mr Agyemang-Manu said.
“I urge 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 popularly known as Child Welfare Clinics (CWC) to be vaccinated against this deadly childhood disease,” he added.
On his part, the WHO Representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo, said the malaria vaccine is a welcome addition to the malaria control toolbox and will offer endemic countries the opportunity to rapidly reach children in the most vulnerable places with an effective intervention through the routine immunization platform.
“All stakeholders must spread the importance of the malaria vaccine and all childhood immunizations in protecting the lives and livelihoods of our children and future generations,” Dr Kasolo added.
The expansion will see the delivery of malaria vaccines to children in 51 additional districts in the seven regions.
The malaria vaccine programme is being implemented in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, with more than 1.2 million children reached with at least one dose of the malaria vaccine. The implementation programme which comes to an end in December 2023, has provided crucial information for other malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa to roll out the malaria vaccine in 2024.
Priscilla Nimako, ISD