The world finally has a malaria vaccine. Now it must invest in it
My sister is now a doctor, working to save the lives of others, and the mother of three children. Saving children from malaria is about protecting Africa’s future. Despite progress against the disease, millions of Africans have died from malaria since 2000, most of them about the same age as my sister when she became sick. They will not have a chance to become doctors, teachers, farmers, computer programmers or play any other role, or to have and care for their own families.
But with the introduction of the world’s first malaria vaccine, and continued investment, we can curb this terrible disease. The RTS,S vaccine is a cost-effective new tool, something concrete we can act on now to give millions of boys and girls the chance to contribute – and ensure Africa’s economic progress is no longer slowed by malaria.
As the world witnesses tremendous inequities in access to vaccines, and we explore ways to bring vaccine development knowhow and capacity home to Africa, it is our collective responsibility to invest in the malaria vaccine now in our hands, and ensure that it reaches those who need it.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the director-general of the World Trade Organization
- Global development
- Vaccines and immunisation