Expert comment - Funding for malaria vaccine roll-out in sub-Saharan Africa

The introduction of the RTS,S malaria vaccine to currently recommended malaria control interventions could help drive down child mortality in Africa – a continent that bears the heaviest malaria burden.
Sir Brian Greenwood: "This news from GAVI will pave the way towards improving the health of millions of young people in sub-Saharan Africa."

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Board have announced over £87 million funding for a new malaria vaccination programme to implement a new tool - the RTS,S vaccine - in the fight against malaria. The programme will include vaccine introduction, procurement and delivery in sub-Saharan Africa in 2022-2025. The approval of funding follows WHO's recommendation for wider routine use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine earlier this year.

Reacting to the news, Sir Brian Greenwood, Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said: "I join the global health community in celebrating the funding announcement from GAVI. The recent WHO recommendation of the RTS,S malaria vaccine was a historic milestone. But while a vital first step, this news from GAVI will accelerate action to pave the way towards improving the health of millions of young people in sub-Saharan Africa. However, this vaccine forms just one part of the toolkit needed if we are to eliminate malaria for good. We urgently need more funding to create innovative tools and to support the scale-up of existing interventions."

In August 2021, research by LSHTM and partners, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed giving young children the RTS,S vaccine and antimalarial drugs before the rainy season could substantially reduce cases of life-threatening malaria in the African Sahel.

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