Immunization office at Balaka district hospital has said the malaria vaccine implementation program MVIP is going smoothly due to positive response from the community.

Assistant environmental health Officer Patrick Bonongwe said since the program started the district has identified side effects from only two recipients out of 984 who received the first dose and 165 who received the second dose during the first two months of implementation.

Bonongwe said the institution has not encountered any other challenge in all the three implementing clusters.

World Health Organisation welcomed Government of Malawi’s launch of the world’s first malaria vaccine in April in a landmark pilot programme.

Malawi was the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 years of age; Ghana and Kenya would introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes. Most of these deaths are in Africa, where more than 250 000 children die from the disease every year. Children under 5 are at greatest risk of its life-threatening complications. Worldwide, malaria kills 435 000 people a year, most of them children.

“We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria in the last 15 years, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas. We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives.”