It could save thousands of lives this year.
According to statistics from Unicef, somewhere between 300 and 600 million people contract malaria each year worldwide, and over 1 million people go on to actually die from it.
Most of those who succumb to the disease are children under 5. The vast majority of these cases are found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
While these numbers may seem large, as a reader in North America one may be compelled to ask, is all this disease happening in one place, far away from home?
The answer is, no. While severe cases happen more often on the world’s second-largest continent, malaria is present in other places too. In fact, up to 40% of the world’s population is said to live in a malaria-risk area. And the disease is on the rise.
That’s why it comes as a relief to learn that a vaccine is now being rolled out. It’s not 100% effective with a 40% efficacy rate, but medical experts have hope.
About 1000 children are reported as dying from malaria each day in Africa, and so a reduction of 40% in severe cases of the disease is a welcome thing.
According to a report on BBC.com, the vaccine needs to be given to patients four times over a 2-year span. It lasts for a minimum of 7 years.
Coupled with the use of insecticides that kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes and the use of bed nets, children on the vibrant continent now have a greater chance of seeing adulthood.