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Cameroon battles malaria vaccine hesitancy

Cameroon’s Health Minister, Dr Manaouda Malachie, has urged the population to trust the government’s health policy, amid growing scepticism over the malaria vaccines which arrived in the country nine days ago.

In a statement on Wednesday, he detailed the benefits of the RTS,S vaccine in the fight against malaria, praising the outcome of the testing phase in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi.

“Based on the efficacy of the results obtained, the introduction of this vaccine… will make it possible to cover the entire childhood, and depending on the coverage rate, avoid about 2,000 deaths among children under five years of age every year,” Dr. Malachie said.

The Word Health Organization says that RTS,S can “prevent around 75% of malaria episodes”.

Cameroon is the first country in Africa to receive the RTS,S vaccines since the end of the pilot phase.

But in a country where vaccine hesitancy is rife, the government has been unable to completely change the minds of many Cameroonians who continue to oppose the arrival of the more than 330,000 vaccine doses.

“We grew up in a tropical area, so we’re used to malaria. I don’t know why they must administer the vaccines to children,” one local resident told the BBC.

She also revealed: “I won’t vaccinate my children; even in school, I won’t allow them to do it.”

Every year, Cameroon records six million malaria cases with 4,000 deaths in health facilities, according to the WHO. Most of those affected are children below five years old.

Source: bbc.com

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