Former President John Mahama has commended the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) for the approval of a groundbreaking malaria vaccine to inoculate children in Africa.
WHO said on Wednesday the only approved vaccine against malaria should be widely given to African children, potentially marking a major advance against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people in the sub-region annually.
“It is heartwarming to learn of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) approval of a malaria vaccine after years of trial,” Mahama said in a Facebook post, expressing that the news was “refreshing and promising.”
He disclosed that his government had expressed interest in the development in 2016 to the WHO to participate in the Malaria vaccine pilot programme that has led to the approval of the vaccine.
“I am elated at the prospect of vaccinating millions of African children who will be saved from avoidable deaths as a result of this scientific and Public Health breakthrough,” he said and added, “Thanks to Dr. Vasee Moorthy and his team at the World Health Organisation who responded favourably to Ghana’s expression of interest in the malaria vaccine programme in 2016.”
He went on, “Congratulations to the WHO, Ghana’s Technical Working Group and the governments and people of Malawi and Kenya who joined us in the successful pilot immunisation programme.”
As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, said, this is, “a historic moment,” said Mahama.
The WHO recommendation is for RTS,S – or Mosquirix – a vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L).
Since 2019, 2.3 million doses of Mosquirix have been administered to infants in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in a large-scale pilot programme coordinated by the WHO.
The majority of those whom the disease kills are under age five.