Experts lobby for Malaria vaccine use
Posted Tuesday, October 15 2013 at 01:00
Entebbe- A malaria vaccine that offers 50 per cent protection to children could be adopted sooner than expected, if the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) deliberations going on in Entebbe yield results.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign could also see millions of African children who die of malaria reduce by a half.
The 8th AVAREF has brought together experts on vaccines on the African Continent to review the ongoing vaccine trials as well as get updates on malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis vaccines.
Dr Andrew Bakainaga, the WHO country adviser on Vaccines Development, said by the end of the three- day conference, the representatives from 23 African countries will have made a stand on whether the RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate.
The vaccine trials have been ongoing in some African countries for the last nine years and will be endorsed and made available in countries suffering huge malaria burden.
“We have already established that the vaccine has no ethical challenges and it has passed all the safety tests. But we are discussing whether we give the vaccine that we are aware that it offers partial protection. If members agree, we will endorse the vaccine to be added on the existing immunisation schedules,” he said yesterday at the opening of the three-day conference.
The Minister for Health, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, while opening the conference, said Uganda is likely to introduce this vaccine in the near future.
Earlier in an interview with Daily Monitor, the senior medical officer in charge of research at the Malaria Control Programme, Dr Myers Lugemwa, said the vaccine is already being piloted in Iganga District and the results are positive: “It’s likely to give protection of up 65 per cent and that’s something we are looking forward to reduce the malaria burden in the country.”