Malawi launches Africa’s first WHO approved typhoid vaccine

4 year old Golden Kondowe is the first African Child to receive the WHO approved vaccine funded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation

Malawi has launched a new generation of typhoid vaccines making it the first country in Africa using the vaccines to fight typhoid infections in children.

Four-year-old Golden Kondowe was the first child to receive the vaccine, on Wednesday (January 21) in Blantyre’s Ndirande Township.

The settlement has registered at least 100 cases of Typhoid, and is said to be a high risk area.

The clinical trials are meant to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) according to the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust which is running the programme.

About 24,000 children aged from nine months to 12 years will take part in the study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Many parents are sceptical about the vaccine. But I know it will be helpful. We just have to protect our children and babies. typhoid is claiming many lives both in rural and urban areas,” said Christopher Kondowe, Golden’s father.

“The coming in of this vaccine is very significant in Ndirande because we have a huge population of about 140,373. And with the study that our colleagues did, they found that Ndirande has a lot of typhoid cases. So, the coming in of this vaccine will help to reduce the number of cases that we register,” said Mwagomba, a senior nursing officer.

The new vaccine against typhoid has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Typhoid is a highly contagious infection caused by the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi bacteria. It is contracted by consuming contaminated foods or drinks and symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain and pink spots on the chest. Untreated, it can be fatal.

Professor Melita Gordon, is the principal investigator, at Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust.

“Until about five years ago, there was relatively little typhoid here in Blantyre, in Malawi. And what we have been able to show is that there has been a big outbreak not only in Malawi, in Blantyre but across many big cities in Africa. And we have been able to show that this is a new strain of typhoid that came across to the continent from the Indian subcontinent and it is multi-drug resistant which means that it is transmitted very quickly and spread very quickly,” she said.

Typhoid fever affects between 12 and 20 million people worldwide in regions where the quality of water and sanitation is low, particularly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Around 1 in 100 cases is deadly, and about 3 percent of those infected become chronic carriers of the disease.