Cameroon Launches Malaria Vaccination Drive for Kids

Cameroon has initiated a groundbreaking vaccination campaign targeting children to combat the widespread impact of malaria. The country’s Public Health Ministry revealed that the vaccine will be accessible in both public and private health facilities spanning 42 health districts.

Commencing at 8:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) in the bustling city of Douala, the vaccination effort has gained early momentum. Aristide Ndenan, a parent from Douala, expressed relief as he brought his six-month-old daughter to Angels Clinic for vaccination, stating, “I am relieved that my daughter has been vaccinated. I hope that this vaccination will help my child a lot,” in an interview with reporters.

Public health official Leonard Ewane emphasized that the vaccine serves as a supplementary tool alongside established and effective malaria prevention and control measures. Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite, is accountable for 70 percent of child fatalities in Cameroon, according to the country’s health ministry.

Cameroon received a shipment of over 300,000 doses of RTS,S in November last year, marking the first malaria vaccine endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Before this, a pilot phase in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi in 2019 witnessed the vaccination of over two million children, leading to significant reductions in severe malaria cases and hospitalizations.

Global malaria statistics from 2022, as reported by the WHO, indicate an estimated 249 million malaria cases and 608,000 deaths across 85 countries. Africa bore the brunt, accounting for 94 percent of cases and 95 percent of deaths. Notably, children under five represented approximately 80 percent of all malaria-related fatalities in the region.

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