Remember the Oxford University’s Malaria Vaccine (the R21/Matrix-M vaccine) that Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority approved for use in children aged 5-36 months last week? Nigeria has just become the second nation to approve it for use.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) communicated the approval on Monday April 17. According to NAFDAC, it, alongside experts from tertiary institutions, conducted a joint review on the R21/Matrix-M vaccine and found it to be safe, of good quality, and effective.
The latest approval is another plus for Africa, as for the first time in recorded history, two African nations have become the first to approve a major vaccine before their more influential counterparts. And this happened in quick succession. First, it was Ghana. Now it is Nigeria. Who knows – other African countries may line up behind them soon. But that is how things should be with breakthroughs like this one. Afterall, malaria trashes Africa more than any other continent of the world.
If only we can extend the laudable gesture to other concerns of the continent – poverty, poor learning resources, depressed health system, insecurity, and ineffective governance! If we can’t develop interventions locally, let us import them. Africa has all it takes to become an enviable continent, but it seems that many stakeholders are fast asleep.