(CNN) – The World Health Organization said on Wednesday, in what it called a “historic” measure, that it was recommending widespread use of the world’s first and only malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where transmission levels exist. From moderate to high malaria.
The recommendation was based on the results of an ongoing pilot vaccination program in pediatric clinics in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, according to the World Health Organization.
In a press release, the World Health Organization said that the programme, launched in 2019, demonstrated that the RTS vaccine, S/AS01, is safe, cost-effective, and feasible to deliver, and significantly reduced fatal acute malaria by about 30%.
“This is a historic moment,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. “The long-awaited pediatric malaria vaccine is a breakthrough in science, children’s health and malaria control.” “Using this vaccine with existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
Malaria is one of the leading causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 260,000 African children under the age of five die from this cause annually, according to the World Health Organization.
“For centuries, malaria has haunted sub-Saharan Africa, causing immense personal suffering,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press release on Wednesday.
“We have waited for an effective malaria vaccine for a long time and now for the first time we have such a recommended vaccine for widespread use,” Moeti said. “Today’s recommendation offers a glimmer of hope for the continent that is bearing the greatest strain of disease and we hope that more African children will be protected from malaria and grow up to be healthy adults.”