Ghana to expand malaria vaccine implementation from December 2022 

Ghana to expand malaria vaccine implementation from December 2022 

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and its improvement companions are set to expand the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP) to 93 other districts throughout seven areas in Ghana, starting December, 2022.  

Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, who made this identified at a media briefing in Accra, said 42 districts in seven out of the country’s 16 administrative areas had benefited from the MVIP Pilot since 2019. 

The seven implementation areas are; Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, Central, Oti, Upper East, and Volta. 

He said the deliberate enlargement programme could be executed in phases concentrating on children beneath two years within the added districts, who would obtain 4 doses of the vaccine each, at mounted intervals. 

This would begin from the sixth, seventh, nineth and 18th month after beginning. 

 It relies on the advice of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group, following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) endorsement of the vaccine for broader use in areas with reasonable to high malaria transmission. 

Dr. Kuma Aboagye said the precise date for the graduation of the programme would quickly be communicated to the general public. 

He indicated that regardless of worldwide efforts to scale-up present malaria management interventions, about half of the world’s population remained at threat of the illness, inflicting a whole bunch and hundreds of illnesses and deaths yearly. 

“The WHO estimates that more than 90 percent of these deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, mainly among children under five years old. In Ghana, malaria causes about 2,000 deaths annually with approximately 48 percent of admitted children being under age five,” he said. 

The Director-General said with malaria being the most important explanation for hospital attendance, contributing to an estimated 30 percent of admissions in Ghana, it was “something that we can no longer contend with.” 

Hence the necessity to faucet into newly developed instruments such because the RTS, S vaccine, and a recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine to help Africa transfer from management to elimination.     

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said scaling up the vaccine uptake would shield and avert extreme malaria-related illnesses and deaths in children dwelling in extremely endemic areas and districts, who weren’t utilizing any preventive interventions such because the Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (ITN). 

 Evidence from the Pilot implementation in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi over the previous three years confirmed elevated confidence within the vaccine as being safe and possible to be included into the routine immunisation programme, he said. 

He urged the media to assist the GHS with steady advocacy and consciousness creation on the devastating impact of malaria, present interventions, constructive behaviors to cut back unfold, dispelling rumors and misinformation, and constructing trust to forestall hesitancy. 

Dr Kwame Amponsa Achiano, the Programme Manager of Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI), said the RTS, S Malaria vaccine had, since May 2019, been successfully included into Ghana’s routine immunisation by sustained social mobilisation efforts. 

Approximately 1.4 million doses of the vaccine had been safely administered to children lower than two years in Africa as of September 2022, with a recorded enchancment in Ghana’s protection throughout the selected districts, in contrast to accessible data from 2021. 

The Ministry of Health, by the GHS, he said, had offered the vaccine within the pilot districts in phases. 

Apart from the 42 districts within the first Phase, the second and third phases would contain further 51, and an extra enlargement to 168 districts respectively, primarily based on the malaria burden, epidemiology and world availability of the vaccines from 2024.   

Dr. Achiano said a considerable drop in hospitalisation and deaths in children under 5 years was being reported after the introduction of the vaccine in endemic areas.   

However, the RTS, S vaccine was not an alternative choice to present preventive interventions, however vital further safety to obtain discount and elimination of malaria-related illnesses in children, he said. 

“Sleeping under Insecticide Treated bed Nets (ITN) throughout the night is as important as the vaccine itself”.  

 Dr Achiano said progress in lowering malaria globally had stalled, and new instruments had been wanted to get again on monitor, citing the Annual Malaria Report on Ghana, which confirmed a high burden of about 5.7 million confirmed cases. 

It additionally confirmed 257 deaths in 2021 alone, with children accounting for 28 and 45 percentages, respectively, for morbidity and mortality.   

He spoke concerning the high-level political assist and dedication received throughout board, improved uptake of vaccine, and the fact that the majority implementing districts had reached at least 60 percent protection. 

This is regardless of the initial challenges with the wave of anti-vaccine campaigner against the MVIP. 

 Dr. Achiano said when it comes to vaccination protection, the annual goal population of under one year was 175,000, however challenges together with health employee education main to missed alternatives, employees attrition in vaccination areas due to rampant motion, high drop-out charges between the third and fourth doses had additionally affected the progress. 

He said on-going interventions to tackle the gaps included; efficiency conferences with peripheral employees, health employee engagements, provision of software guides on key messages, and refresher coaching. 

Others are; focused assist to overcome defaulters, dwelling visits, mop-up activities and community education with the assist of all stakeholders. 

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