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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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  • Volume 1

Malaria vaccine ready in three years

By Arsénio Manhice, Mozambique

Elizabeth Joseph is a field supervisor of the RTS,S malaria vaccine trials at the Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM), in Mozambique. Her job is to visit the homes of study participants to update the families on progress of the study and find out any problems that may be the cause of absences from vaccinations.

Aided by a motorcycle, she visits the families and invites the mothers to a health center to receive the informed consent. She is focusing on participants within the 6-12 months age bracket, explaining to the parents all what is entailed in the vaccine trials.

"We explained that the work will last three years and in that space of time children must go to the center seven times. It is not easy because some women are married to men who work in neighboring South Africa. When they return they do not let their wives and children go to the health center," she said.

At the Center for Health in Mwamatibjana, another centre carrying out vaccine  trials, Antonio Timana, Field Manager since 2009, pointed out that his daily activity is to coordinate the work of the teams that go to the field. He ensures the safe transporting of scales, thermometers, camera, informed consent documents, among other things.

Once on the field, he awaits the arrival of children accompanied by their mothers.

Antonio Timana is a happy man seeing how the mothers take the tests as very important to the proper development of their children.

"At first there was too much pressure due to the volume of work to be done. However, today I am happy and proud to participate in the search for a vaccine, "he says.

For John Magalu, President of Community Policing in the 3rd Residential Area, monitoring clinical trials of the vaccine is a wonderful way of contributing to the welfare of all.

"Before vaccinating the children we did a lot of work to raise awareness because people initially thought that scientists were taking the blood of children for sale and other obscure purposes. However, today the population understands what the project is all about. It gives me great joy,"

Dr. Jahit Sacarlal, Principal Investigator at the Manhiça Health Research Center said the study which started in August 2008 with 1000 children, is in the third phase.

  Dr Jahit Sacarlal and AMMREN journalist Arsenio Manhice

At present, they are recruiting 700 other children for vaccination for the second step. As of December 2010, 530 children have been enrolled.

The vaccine's initial portfolio will be submitted to an international regulatory review in 2012 after which it expected to be introduced into the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).

"If all goes well, the overall implementation of the RTS, S for babies between six and 12 weeks will be possible in the space of about five years," said Dr Sacarlal.

In search of a vaccine for malaria, CISM initiated in 2003 a proof of concept study with more than 2000 children aged one to four years at the time of vaccination. They received three doses of vaccine and were monitored for a period of 45 months.

In children under one year, the vaccine proved safe and well tolerated and the efficacy against infection was 65.9 percent.

"These studies generated sufficient evidence to bring about large-scale trials of Phase III of the vaccine, which began in May 2009 in Bagamoyo, Tanzania," Dr. Jahit Sacarlal said.

With the prospects of RTS,S being so bright, scientists, researchers and stakeholders working on it are now convinced more than ever, that within three years it will be a finished product saving the lives of African children under five years of age.

As for the staff in Manhiça district, they are enthusiastic as ever and very proud to be part of the team that will give Africa its first ever vaccine against malaria.

Editions: 
Sixth Edition