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African researchers charge WHO to prioritize communication in Vaccine trial.

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The World Health Organization, WHO, as at 2018 started a malaria vaccine trial in sub-Saharan Africa. But a group of African researchers are advising on the need to prioritize communication in the course of the trial which runs till 2020.

According to a review of previous non-WHO trials by the four researchers, failure to factor in the socio-cultural context of research sample size in those trials affected the process.

“Effective implementation of the malaria vaccine program requires careful consideration of the socio-cultural context of each community.



The RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine acceptance and uptake may be significantly enhanced if caregivers’ perceptions about vaccines and their importance are adequately fine-tuned.

“In order to achieve these, community participation and the provision of adequate information in an acceptable form via reliable communication channels seem to be imperative,” findings published from the 11-page report noted in part.

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The research article titled: “Current challenges and proposed solutions to the effective implementation of the RTS, S/ AS01 Malaria Vaccine Program in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review,” was published on eve of 2019.

Its authors include: Christian Akem Dimala, Belmond Tse Kika, Benjamin Momo Kadia and Hannah Blencowe who employed a systematic review of relevant studies between 1947 and 2017.

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They study’s other objective beyond reviewing and summarizing available literature was to also chiefly address the challenges faced during the implementation phase of malaria vaccination programs and randomized trials conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.

WHO’s Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program is intended to initiate the roll-out of the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine in three sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Malawi and Kenya.

The Mosquirix vaccine (also called RTS, S) was created specially for infants. By the end of the pilot phase (2018 – 2020) an estimated 360,000 children are expected to be given the vaccine.

WHO wants to vaccinate at least 120,000 children in each of the countries participating in the pilot program. The areas most affected will be given priority, it said in 2017.

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Health & Lifestyle

Cote d’Ivoire: Destroying the Killer Rice

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Authorities in Cote d’Ivoire have destroyed 18,000 tonnes of rice declared to be unfit for human consumption.

This follows tests carried out by the country’s consumer association which had demanded the government to do so after the cargo from Myanmar had been refused entry in Togo, Guinea and Ghana over quality issues.

The national and international quality control tests revealed the unfit nature of the rice.

It should be noted that most African countries depend on imports because local farmers are unable to meet the ever rising demands.

Source: Africanews

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Health & Lifestyle

Mali: Donkeys deliver vaccines as diseases spike with violence

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Reuters DAKAR –

With spiraling ethnic violence exposing more children in Mali to fatal diseases, health workers are using donkeys and boats to deliver life-saving vaccines, charities said on Wednesday.

In the central Mopti region – where 157 people died in one attack last month – suspected measles cases rose five-fold in one year to 98 in 2018, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said, due to a four-fold jump in unvaccinated children to 70,000.

Motorcycles, which health workers used to reach remote villages, have been banned to reduce militant activity, forcing them to use traditional means like horses, it said.

“The problem of vaccination is directly linked to the current conflict,” said Patrick Irenge, medical coordinator for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which is using cars and boats as mobile clinics to reach cut off communities.

“If there is a lull in the violence, a small window that opens, we organize a vaccination campaign.”

Last month’s massacre was the deadliest to date in a conflict between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders which has displaced tens of thousands of civilians in the West African country since it escalated last year.

Pneumonia is one of the top killers of children in Mali and it can be prevented with vaccines – as can measles – but it is too dangerous for many parents to venture out with children.

“Transport is difficult because we don’t have the means to rent a vehicle or a horse cart,” said Aissata Barry, a 34-year-old mother in the village of Kankelena, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the nearest health center in the town of Sofara.

“There are rapists on the road. That’s what we’re afraid of,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, adding that one of her neighbors was raped two weeks ago.

Mamadou Kasse, a local health worker who vaccinated Barry’s children, said the number of children he can reach each day has fallen since he swapped his motorbike for an eight-hour ride in a donkey cart with a cooler full of vaccines.

Reporting by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org

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