World Malaria Day: Reflections on Malaria Vaccine Rollout in Niger

Niger, like other countries around the world, celebrated World Malaria Day on Wednesday 27 April with the theme “Innovating to Reduce the Burden of Malaria and Save Lives”. Therefore, within this framework, the National Malaria Control Program organized a day to reflect on the introduction of the malaria vaccine: challenges and prospects in Niger.

During this forum, participants heard a presentation on the epidemiological situation of malaria in Niger, the procedures for introducing the vaccine in Niger, innovations in the fight against malaria, the introduction of the RTSS vaccine in African countries, the contribution of society to the promotion of the Vaccination and Unicef’s contribution to the launch of a new vaccine in Niger. These communications were made by Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister for Public Health, Population and Social Affairs, Dr. Anya Blanche Philomene, WHO representative, and Dr. Magafu, WHO/Afro Malaria Vaccine Focal Point, Mr. Samaila Mamadou Traor, Civil Society Actor, and Dr. Moriba presents Kone, UNICEF representative.

according to dr Idi Illiassou Mainassara, the issue of the epidemiological situation of malaria is a public health concern and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Niger. In 2020, thanks to government efforts and technical partners, Niger recorded more than 6,000,000 cases of malaria; That trend has dropped to 4,000,000 cases in 2021, he stressed.

The Minister of Public Health, Population and Welfare also said that as part of the systematic vaccination of children from 0 to 23 months, as well as women, the introduction of a new vaccine will come through a solution. This launch requires the establishment of a multidisciplinary team responsible for managing all submission materials, he explained.

For the WHO representative, Dr. Anya Blanche Philomene, the introduction of the RTSS vaccine in African countries is a revolution in the fight against malaria. The vaccine should be given in conjunction with other malaria control measures. The vaccine has proven itself in three countries, namely Kenya, Malawi and Ghana, where almost 900,000 children have been vaccinated, and for this reason the World Health Organization has recommended that the country can extend the roll-out of this vaccine in other countries,” she explained .

In addition, Dr. Anya Blanche Philomene states that for the process of introducing this vaccine, the involvement of the Technical Advisory Group on Vaccination is very important, since this group must examine the guidelines of this vaccine and adapt them to the Niger context. The vaccine is four doses, there are three doses separated by a month and then the fourth dose is given at 18 months, she said.

For his part, civil society actor Mr. Samaila Mamadou Traor indicated that the contribution of civil society as a grouping of NGOs and associations can be summed up in four points. It is about creating synergies of action in promoting equity in immunization, communication, advocacy and community monitoring. According to him, civil society must support the establishment of a network of parliamentarians to strengthen the health system and promote vaccination.

Unicef’s representative, Dr. Moriba Kone, for his part, was delighted to take part in this framework, which consists in informing the population about the launch of the malaria vaccine in Niger. He added that Unicef ​​is providing the vaccination logistics in the Asian, African and European parts, noting that the rollout of malaria vaccines in Niger is an opportunity to strengthen the immunization and health systems.

By Yacine Hassane (onep)

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