• WHO Regional Director, Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, welcomed the launch that gave an opportunity for countries to apply for funding to expand the introduction and administration of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.
• Moeti said, “Now is the time for African countries and communities to call out their interest – to donors, health leaders and manufacturers – in early access to this vaccine. Lives are at stake, every day."
World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with Gavi have rolled out the first-ever Malaria Vaccine funding in Africa.
WHO Regional Director, Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on Thursday via virtual conference, said malaria has devastated communities for far too long in Africa and the new strategy to fight malaria will save lives.
“Now is the time for African countries and communities to call out their interest – to donors, health leaders and manufacturers – in early access to this vaccine, lives are at stake, every day."
She said the partnership is to accelerate RTS,S the world's first malaria vaccine, supply by exploring approaches to increase manufacturing capacity.
"This is to ensure children at highest risk across endemic countries are prioritized to receive the vaccine," Moeti noted.
The child vaccination services started in 2019 with three pilot countries, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, and continue without disruption.
The Director added, that WHO has developed a framework to guide vaccine allocation decisions at global and country levels.
"This international support of nearly US$ 160 million from 2022-2025 will facilitate increased vaccine access to children at high risk and expanding to other eligible endemic countries," she added.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance indicated that the first application deadline September 2022 is reserved for countries currently piloting the vaccine.
The second phase will open immediately to other eligible malaria-endemic countries and close in January 2023.
Moeti said countries can submit expressions of interest during the first funding window for inclusion in this round.
WHO reported in 2018 that malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa with 11 million pregnant women being infected.
She said the introduction in 2019, was well accepted in African communities after a relatively short period of time.
Unfortunately, in 2020, nearly half a million African children died from malaria or one child died of malaria every minute.
Africa Regional Director said the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control.