WE HEARTILY WELCOME ANTI-MALARIA VACCINE

Saturday October 09 2021

Two news reports published across the world yesterday made interesting reading all-round.

One was on an author who was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, about 73 years ago, Prof Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was awarded the prestigious Nobel Literature Prize this year (2021).

This, we are told by the Nobel Prize Committee, was “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

But, what is perhaps more important is the approval on Wednesday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of a malaria vaccine by GlaxoSmithKline, for widespread use on children between the ages of 5 and 17 months to begin with.

Code-named “Mosquirix,” the new invention not only becomes the world’s first noticeably effective and officially-authorised anti-malaria vaccine; it also is the first of its kind for any known parasitic disease globally.

In that regard, the sixth-phase Union Government of Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan has indicated that it is more than able, willing and ready to administer the “Mosquirix,” vaccine to its children as appropriately prescribed.

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As we reported in these august pages yesterday, the Health Ministry indeed said that the government “is committed to ensuring that all the necessary procedures for the introduction of the vaccine – including its verification by local experts – are observed with utmost care.”

This is after pilot clinical trials on more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya next-door proved acceptably successful in 2019 – especially working in tandem with other malaria-preventive measures like using insecticide-treated bed-nets.

How most comforting, we heartily say. This is especially considering that Tanzania is a major victim of the deadly malaria, which claims nearly a quarter-million children’s lives in sub-Saharan Africa annually.

And, according to WHO, over 90 percent of Tanzanians live in high-risk malaria-transmission parts of the country.


BEST WISHES, TWIGA STARS…

Tanzania’s national women football team Twiga Stars today play their Malawi counterparts in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women Championship at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The match starts at 3pm, and Twiga Stars target their first Cosafa title in what is their third attempt at it.

In 2011, Twiga Stars finished third after beating Malawi 3-0. Last year, the Stars did not qualify for the knockout stages, also at the Wolfson Stadium.

However, Twiga Stars is nowadays a relatively strong side with a solid defence that has conceded only one goal in four recent matches. Also, three players – namely Amina Bilal (Team Captain), Mwanahamis Sharua and Fatuma Issa – have won various awards as distinguished players.

Today’s match is a chance for the Stars to show their worth in the competition by winning the Cosafa title.

The players must not dwell on past failures or weaknesses, for this is what competitions are all about: failures and successes.

A topical example of this is, incidentally, Malawi’s performance in the competition, in which it lost 2-1 against South Africa in the Groups stage – only to win the next match 3-2 just as soon.

So, Twiga Stars: go and GET IT DONE against the Malawians, we say…