Nigeria’s health minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says malaria kills 10 citizens every hour.
“Children under five years of age remain the most vulnerable group affected by malaria; accounting for 67 percent of all malaria deaths,” he says; adding, “It is a major cause of school absenteeism and low productivity.”
In April, Dr. Osagie said the RTS, S malaria vaccine was expected to be available in Nigeria by April 2024, after missing the second application window for the vaccine which closed on 17 January 2023.
The third window of applications for support from Gavi, the vaccine alliance, opened in April 2023, and Nigeria has applied, according to the minister.
“Let me also inform you that the national program is working closely with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other stakeholders in accessing and deploying the Malaria Vaccine (RTS,S) in a phased fashion, subject to the availability of the needed quantity,” the minister says.
“The country has also successfully submitted an application to Gavi for the RTS,S Vaccine allocation. This is expected to be in-country by April 2024,” he adds.
When added to currently recommended Malaria control tools, research shows the RTS,S Vaccine can reduce episodes of Malaria in children by 40 percent and reduce life-threatening severe Malaria by around 30 percent.