Ministry of Health’s answer as more Malaria vaccines are available globally


BED nets is the ministry of health’s (MHMS) answer to Malaria, even though vaccines are now available globally.

Malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in October 2021; and the latest – R21 – was announced by the University of Oxford earlier this year at 80 percent effective in preventing the disease in children.

Sadly, Solomon Islands cannot access these vaccines, Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana told parliament last week.

Malaria remains to be one of Solomon Islands’ most common diseases.

Togamana also told parliament one of the vaccines was created based on the work of a Solomon Islander – malaria specialist Dr Nathan Kere.

Togamana does not explain why the vaccines are not available for Solomon Islanders. Neither does he offer any hope – whether his ministry has any plan to bring in the vaccines and make them available to Solomon Islanders.

Instead, he gave a crash course to the Speaker, members of parliament and the country on the ozone layer and how to use bed nets, treat bed nets and take care of bed nets.

“We would like to enforce the use of bed net and so the Ministry is continuing to distribute bed nets to our people in the rural areas and even up to now. But the choice of using that bed bet comes back to individuals.

“But from the Ministry’s view we are pleading with the public to ensure they use the bed net and after sometimes the effectiveness will decline and they need to get a replacement.

“The spray was used way back before, but it was no longer practised now days because they found out that the DDT use to spray the houses can remain for a very long time in an environment, it is a chlorinated carbon as well.

“Therefore once chlorine is disintegrated and evaporates into the atmosphere it can also have impact on the greenhouse effect (the trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planets lower atmosphere) or depletion of ozone layers,” Togamana explained.

The RTS,S malaria vaccine was announced by WHO on October 6, 2021.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in announcement of the vaccine said: “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control.

“Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”

The R21 is said to be an improved version of the RTS,S and with a more successful trial rate. However, Harvard scientists choose to wait and see as the R21 is being administered world-wide for “clearer” results.

Meanwhile, a scientific study published in June 2021 in the Malaria Journal says Solomon Islands is having some success in its campaign against the disease. The study covered 19 villages across four provinces in the country.


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