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Health Ministry receives 645,000 doses of malaria vaccines

By Kei Emmanuel Duku

 

South Sudan received 645,000 doses of the R21 malaria vaccine on Friday. The arrival marks a significant step in the fight against malaria, a leading cause of death in the country.

The vaccines will be distributed across 28 counties bearing the highest malaria burden. Children under five, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions are most susceptible to the disease.

“Nearly all diagnoses in our lower health facilities are due to malaria,” said Dr. Janet Michael, Acting Director General of Primary Health Care.

“These vaccines will be crucial in saving the lives of our children and mothers.”

South Sudan struggles with one of the highest malaria incidence rates in the region, registering an estimated 7,630 cases daily with at least 18 deaths attributed to the disease.

Mrs. Harriet Pasqual, Under Secretary of the National Ministry of Health, emphasized the importance of the vaccines as a complementary tool to existing efforts.

“These vaccines will work alongside other interventions to reduce the malaria burden,” she stated.

UNICEF Deputy Representative, Obia Achieng, highlighted the devastating impact of malaria on children.

“Every day, at least 18 children succumb to malaria nationwide,” he said.

“The vaccines have the potential to transform lives, especially for vulnerable populations in remote areas.”

The National Minister of Health, Hon. Yolanda Awel Juach, urged citizens to embrace the R21 vaccines, proven safe and effective in preventing malaria.

She pointed out that South Sudan is among the first African countries to adopt this approach.

Hassein Abedlbagi Akol, Vice President for Service Clusters, emphasized the global burden of malaria. “Sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of this disease,” he said.

The R21 vaccine rollout, starting July 3rd, will target 255,897 children under five and 18 months in the 28 high-burden counties.

The vaccines were bought from the UK by the Global Vaccine Alliance and given to UNICEF South Sudan to manage and distribute them after they were proven by the World Health Organization to be effective in malaria prevention.

South Sudan Ministry of Health will be overseeing the vaccination program alongside other health implementing partners in the Country.

 

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