Kenya this week launched a campaign using the world’s first malaria vaccine to vaccinate more than 400,000 children against the mosquito-borne disease.
Health officials say malaria kills more than 12,000 Kenyans and more than half a million people in sub-Saharan Africa every year, most of them children.
The mass vaccination campaign comes as a new species of invasive mosquito has been found in Kenya that scientists fear could undo progress made against the disease.
In a new initiative, the Kenyan government wants to vaccinate at least 300,000 children a year against malaria, primarily in the eight malaria-prone districts.
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Pharmacist Lucy Mecca, who leads the vaccination programs, said the vaccine, which was tested in Kenya, Malawi and Ghana in 2019, has proven effective.
“The prevalence of malaria is falling to about six percent nationwide; Even in these endemic lake areas, we can see that it has decreased from 27 percent to 19 percent and that anti-malaria measures are declining. actually works,” said Mecca.
Despite the progress, officials say a new mosquito vector, Anopheles stephensi, that Kenyan scientists recently discovered in the country is threatening progress in the fight against malaria.
Known in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, the vector has the ability to thrive in urban areas and breed in artificial enclosures. Kenya is eyeing its expansion, Makkah explains.