ALL ABOUT THE NEW MALARIA VACCINE IN NIGERIA

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It is no longer news that a malaria vaccine has been developed by British drug makers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), this drug is still on trial in three sub-Saharan African countries, namely Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

This vaccine is the greatest innovation in science that has happened in a very long time. This is because malaria kills about 430,000 people in a year mostly babies and young children in sub-Saharan Africa, but global efforts in the last 15 years have cut the malaria death toll by 62%. The next big advancement in science that will probably be greater than this will be when a vaccine for cancer has been developed.

Malaria can be a fatal disease caused by a parasite caused plasmodium that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans (The Anopheles mosquito). Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasite will multiply in the host’s liver before attacking and destroying red blood cells. 

Five types of plasmodium parasites can infect humans. They are usually found in different parts of the world. Some cause a more severe type of malaria than others.
Malaria symptoms are normally classified into two: Uncomplicated and Severe Malaria.

Symptoms of uncomplicated malaria includes:

·        Fever, headaches, and vomiting.
·        Seizures.
·        Frequent Sweating.
·        Sensation of cold with shivering.
Why symptoms of severe malaria includes:
·        Deep breathing and respiratory distress.
·        Signs of anemia.
·        Impaired consciousness.
·        Fevers and chills.
·        Convulsions.
·        Vital organs dysfunctions.

Early diagnosis is critical for a patient’s recovery. The world health organization strongly advice confirmation of the parasite through microscopic laboratory testing or by a rapid diagnosis test (RDT) depending on the facilities available.

In some malaria endemic areas, mostly sub-Saharan Africa the disease severity can cause mild immunity in a large proportion of the local population and so some people carry the parasites in their bloodstream and do not fall ill.

We all know that vaccines have played an important role in the control and eradication of diseases throughout human history. Starting from the development of the smallpox vaccine in 1980 then also in polio. With malaria parasites now developing resistance to available drugs, the malaria vaccine could not have come at a better time. If after the trials are successful, the world would have taken a giant step towards meeting WHO deadline of 2040 to eradicate malaria.


By now you are wondering the reason for this post considering the fact that it is obvious that this vaccine hasn’t been introduced into Nigeria. But this post was written not just to talk about things that have already happened, but to write about a future, a future where malaria can be totally eradicated and our children can look at the past and be grateful that we made their lives better.

 How can we do this? You can start by sharing this post and letting Africa and the whole world know why Nigeria as a country must be included in the countries to receive the vaccine after the second set of the vaccine comes into Africa.

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