USAID celebrates landmark moment in protecting children from malaria in Africa

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday celebrated the recommendation by the World Health Organization this week of the first vaccine to prevent malaria in children ages 5-17 months living in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa with moderate to high transmission.

USAID, which described the development as a “turning point,” said the new RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine  has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives each year. 

It wrote, “The world is truly at a turning point in the fight against one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest pandemics. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) welcomes the World Health Organization’s recommendation of the first vaccine to prevent malaria in children ages 5-17 months living in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa with moderate to high transmission. In 2019 alone, 260,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa died from malaria. The introduction of this new vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives each year. 

“USAID has been working toward this moment for five decades, including funding the research that identified the critical protein in the new vaccine, but our work is not done yet. The U.S. government will continue to be a driving force in malaria research and the development of highly effective, safe, and durable next-generation malaria vaccines for use in global malaria control and elimination programs. While the vaccine is a welcome new weapon in the fight against malaria, it is not a silver bullet; it works best when paired with mosquito nets and preventive and curative use of drugs. USAID delivers these and other cost-effective interventions to 700 million people a year through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). 

“PMI’s 2021-2026 strategic plan, launched this week, aims to ensure that even the most remote communities at risk for malaria have the lifesaving tools needed so that no child dies of a mosquito bite.” 

Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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