Church donates $3 million for malaria vaccination campaign in Africa

Nearly 40,000 children will receive malaria immunizations after a Church donation to Gavi, the vaccine alliance

A historic malaria immunization campaign is underway in Africa with a $3 million contribution from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Church’s donation will help give an estimated 39,500 children the new RTS,S malaria vaccine — strengthening the coordinated efforts of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; UNICEF; World Health Organization and others.

The announcement of the donation was made at the Global Vaccine Impact Conference in Spain on June 15, reported

As a direct result of the donation, each child will receive the four doses required for immunity against malaria. This is part of a large, multiyear campaign to vaccinate 4.5 million children through 2025.

“This long-awaited effort to immunize children against malaria will truly save lives,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson in the news release. “It is a beautiful way in which we can help to provide relief, as the Savior would.”

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said: “This highly needed, new RTS,S malaria vaccine will help protect thousands of young children from this deadly disease. We are grateful to be a part of this historic initiative.”

About the new malaria vaccine

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Gavi has reported that an estimated 475,000 children under the age of 5 died of malaria in Africa in 2021.

A malaria vaccine has been in development for more than 18 years. The World Health Organization approved the RTS,S vaccine for broad use in October 2021 after a pilot program gave the vaccine to some one million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

A nurse prepares to vaccinate a child against malaria in Kenya.
Nurse Janet Wanyama prepares to vaccinate a child against malaria at the Malava County Hospital, Kakamega, Kenya, in 2022. | Gavi

RTS,S acts against Plasmodium falciparum, which is the deadliest malaria parasite around the globe and the most prevalent in Africa.

In West Africa, Ghana Minister of Health and Latter-day Saint Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said the malaria vaccine could end years of suffering in his country from this “terrible disease.”

“In communities across my country, people are excited and demand is high,” he said.

Church support for global vaccine efforts

The Church has supported Gavi since 2011 and has supported many other organizations in global immunization campaigns for many years to fight diseases like malaria, measles, rubella, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia and yellow fever.

The efforts include procuring and delivering vaccinations, training health care workers and developing elimination and eradication programs.

“Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing thousands of young children every single year,” said Guillaume Grosso with Gavi. “Thanks to vital funding from donors like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can help protect more children at risk as the vaccine rolls out.”

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