The Director for Vaccines at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Orin Levine, has said that scientists are going to the next phase of evaluation for the malaria vaccine candidate.
Levine, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent in Lagos on Monday, spoke on the Bill and Melinda Gates 2017 Annual Letter. He said that experts, researchers and physicians at the organisation
were working towards finding solutions to neglected infectious diseases killing children and adults in Africa. “The roles that vaccination have played in the health of children across the world are undeniable. It has averted the deaths of millions of children who may have died of measles, meningitis and polio. This is the same approach we want to bring to the development of the malaria vaccine. “We are not there yet, but we are entering a new phase of testing the vaccine candidate and we are hopeful,” he said.
While he said progress had been made in Nigeria regarding polio eradication, Levine noted that there was a need for the federal and state governments to increase funding of routine immunisation programmes to sustain it. Levine stressed that government must address inequalities in the cold chain storage systems across the country to ensure that the vaccines are still potent. “The success in Nigeria has showed that vaccines can be delivered anywhere in the world if there is the political will from the government. Also parents have a role to play in ensuring their kids are immunised. When I was in Northern Nigeria, I saw how mothers walked long distance to a health centre outside their communities to get their children immunised.”
Bill Gates, in the 2017 annual letter written by the Gates to the world, addressed to investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet, stated that the lives of 122 million children around the world had been saved since 1990.Gates added that about 86 per cent of children worldwide received basic vaccines and for the first time in history, more than 300 million women were using modern contraceptives.
According to him, the foundation with its partners has recorded progress since 2006 because of the $30bn Buffet gave to the foundation.