Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Sierra Leone receives 550,000 doses of WHO-recommended malaria vaccine

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Sierra Leone has received more than 550,000 doses of the WHO-recommended RTS’s malaria vaccine. Acquired through the dedicated efforts of UNICEF with support from Gavi, this life-saving vaccine is worth USD 5.5 million. Its presence marks a crucial step forward in alleviating the devastating impact of malaria on the children of Sierra Leone.

The weight of malaria’s burden looms large over Sierra Leone, with over two million hospital visits annually. Among these, an alarming one million cases involve children under the age of five, ensnared by this preventable disease. Tragically, malaria is responsible for a staggering 25 per cent of child deaths in the country, casting a pervasive shadow over the aspirations and futures of young lives.

The grim statistics reveal the urgency of the situation. Almost every minute, a child under five succumbs to malaria. In the year 2021 alone, the global toll reached 247 million malaria cases, resulting in 619,000 deaths. Alarmingly, 77 per cent of these deaths befell children under five, predominantly in Africa. The African continent shoulders the heaviest burden of malaria, accounting for approximately 95 per cent of global malaria cases and 96 per cent of related deaths in 2021.

However, the administration of this vaccine is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024 and it aims to extend preventive measures to children under the age of 2, effectively curbing infection rates.

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