Typhoid vaccine, a game changer for Malawi

Millions of children in Malawi are expected to benefit from the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) which has proven to be effective by 84%.

A trial which was conducted by the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLWT) at Ndirande and Zingwangwa health centres in Blantyre has shown that after 18 months  of following  up on children that got the vaccine, it continues to provide protection from the disease for a long time.

In an interview with YONECO online, principal investigator for the study at MLWT, Professor Melita Gordon, said once the vaccine is rolled out it will protect school and preschool age children from the disease.

‘We recruited 28000 children in this trial and what we found is that there were no serious adverse effects from the vaccine and that it is extremely safe’, said Gordon.

She further said the impact of Typhoid   in children is high and 44 percent of families experience a bad economic hit from the disease in terms of costs of illness, transport and hospitalisation.

Reacting to the results of the study, Director of Health and Social Services for Blantyre district, Dr Gift Kawalazira, said the vaccine will assist in preventing typhoid strains that are resistant to antibiotics among others.

“Typhoid is treated using antibiotics and our control for the use of antibiotics at community level is very weak and because of that people use antibiotics anyhow and we may have anti typhoid strains that are resistant to antibiotics, so if we develop an outbreak from such type of strains it will be very difficult to control,” he said.

Additionally, Kawalazira stated that the vaccine will reduce incidents of misdiagnosis because it presents similar symptoms as Malaria.

The government of Malawi plans to roll out a massive campaign on TCV before rolling it out in the routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

GAVI, the Vaccine alliance, has now funded the National Introduction of TCV from 2022.

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