Benin Republic takes delivery of Malaria Vaccine, set to end infant mortality

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Benin Republic takes delivery of Malaria Vaccine, set to end infant mortality

Benin Republic, Monday, has taken delivery of the first batch of batch of malaria vaccines, a crucial step in addressing the primary cause of infant mortality in the nation. Health Minister Benjamin Hounkpatin disclosed this development at Cotonou airport, where the government officially received 215,900 doses of the RTS.

Minister Hounkpatin stressed that Malaria continues to be endemic and is the foremost cause of death among children under five in Benin. The first round of vaccinations is slated to commence “within a few months.”

The prevalence of malaria in Benin is stark, with 40 percent of outpatient consultations and 25 percent of hospital admissions linked to the disease, according to the health minister. The newly acquired vaccine is set to immunize approximately 200,000 children below the age of two. Faustin Yao, an immunization specialist at the UNICEF office in Benin, outlined the vaccination schedule, which entails four doses administered at six months, seven months, nine months, and 18 months.

Benin joins the ranks of African nations benefitting from this vital vaccine, following Cameroon and Sierra Leone.

The vaccine’s introduction stems from a successful pilot phase in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, orchestrated by the World Health Organization and financially supported by entities like the GAVI Vaccine Alliance.

The impact of the vaccine has already been witnessed in the initial recipient countries, with over two million children vaccinated, leading to a remarkable reduction in mortality rates and a substantial decline in severe malaria cases and hospitalizations, according to GAVI. Despite these advancements, malaria remains a persistent threat, causing a child under the age of five to succumb to the disease almost every minute, as highlighted by the World Health Organization.

The challenge persists due to the parasite’s transmission by specific mosquitoes and its escalating resistance to treatment.