My son nearly died of typhoid fever – Okonjo –Iweala


Board Chair, Vaccine Alliance, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that more children will be protected against typhoid fever with its new funding of the typhoid conjugate vaccines.

Okonjo-Iweala, who shared her personal experience while making the announcement in Vientiane,  Laos, said her son almost died from the disease while growing up.

She said, “Typhoid fever imposes a dramatic burden on children in the poorest nations affecting countries, communities and families.

“This disease has long been eliminated from most industrialised nations, but it is still a serious threat in developing countries where the vast majority of deaths occur.

“I lost my cousin and nearly lost my son because of typhoid. This vaccine will be a lifesaver for millions of children, especially those living without access to clean water or sanitation.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Gavi, Dr Seth Berkley, said drug-resistant typhoid cases had increased and spread across Asia and Africa, posing a serious threat to public health.

Berkeley said, “This vaccine is safe, effective and can provide lasting protection. The growing spread of drug resistant strains of typhoid is a major threat, not just to individuals but also to our efforts to control the disease. And this requires us to prioritise prevention strategies.

“Strong coverage through routine immunisation together with efforts to improve access to clean water and hygiene will play a key role in dramatically reducing the disease.”

A new typhoid conjugate vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Limited and first licensed in India in 2013, is currently under review for prequalification by the World Health Organisation.

Typhoid conjugate vaccines were first seen as a priority by the Gavi board in the 2008, although no financial commitment was made at that time in the absence of a suitable vaccine.

The board also approved a set of principles that would guide the organisation’s transition plan for Nigeria. Punch

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