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Cameroon becomes first African Recipient of malaria vaccine as Nigeria anticipates turn 

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Cameroon achieved a milestone in the battle against malaria as it welcomed the initial shipment of Mosquirix malaria vaccines from British pharmaceutical giant GSK Plc on Tuesday.  

This development positions Cameroon as the first African nation to receive the vaccine, a crucial step in combating the mosquito-borne disease that claims over 600,000 lives globally each year. 

The consignment, consisting of 331,200 doses of the vaccine, known as RTS, S, was delivered at Yaounde’s Nsimalen International Airport.  

This follows pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, marking a pivotal moment in the continent’s fight against malaria, a disease identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of Africa’s deadliest, causing the death of nearly half a million children under the age of five. 

Cameroon’s health minister, Manaouda Malachie, revealed that the initial batch of vaccines would be distributed to 42 out of the country’s 203 health districts.  

Malachie emphasized the significance of the vaccine in augmenting existing measures against malaria, a disease that claims numerous lives in the nation. 

According to Reuters, a health official disclosed that inoculations will begin next month or early next year on condition of anonymity.  

GSK reported that over 1.7 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have already received at least one dose of the Mosquirix vaccine in its pilot programmes.  

The company plans to extend its distribution to nine more malaria-endemic countries, including Cameroon, in the early months of the coming year. 

GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, revealed that an additional 1.7 million doses of the RTS, S vaccine are scheduled to reach Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone in the coming weeks.  

UNICEF representative Juliette Haenni hailed this as a historic moment for child protection, underscoring the focus on children aged six to 24 months, the most vulnerable demographic. 

While Cameroon marks this significant achievement, the World Health Organization announced that a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, developed by Britain’s University of Oxford, is anticipated to be available by mid-2024, offering further hope in the ongoing fight against this devastating disease. 

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