19 December 2008

Africa: Malaria Vaccine On the Way to Final-Stage Trials

SciDev.Net (London)
Nairobi — Sixteen thousand children in seven African countries are due to undergo final-stage tests of a potential malaria vaccine early next year after research showed it halves the risk of malaria among infants and children in Kenya and Tanzania.

The next trials will expand to include Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi and Mozambique. They are scheduled to begin by March 2009.

Results from the two East African clinical trials using the vaccine, currently known as RTS,S, were published last week (8 December) in The New England Journal of Medicine.

"The results advance the vision that a vaccine will be capable of protecting young African children and infants against malaria," says research clinician Ally Olotu, a co-author from the Kilifi-based Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, part of the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

One study showed that the vaccine - which stops the bloodborne parasite before it reaches the liver - could be included in the standard childhood immunisation schedule in African countries without interfering with the effectiveness of other vaccines or damaging its own effectiveness, Olutu says.

A second study confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in babies and found that it reduced rates of malaria by half (53 per cent).

The next trials - on newborns 6-12 weeks old, and babies 5-17 months old - will provide even more information on the vaccine's effectiveness and safety, Olotu told SciDev.Net.

Salim Abdulla of the Ifakara Health Institute in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, says the latest Kenyan and Tanzanian trials confirm the results of earlier, smaller trials among adults in The Gambia and pre-schoolers in Mozambique, where the vaccine offered substantial protection against malaria for between 18 months and four years (see Mozambique starts malaria vaccine trial).
Relevant Links

* Health and Medicine
* Malaria

However, there are no plans to produce the vaccine in Africa and no information on its potential cost, Abdulla says. He told SciDev.Net that scientists are talking with nongovernmental organisations and health development bodies about a social marketing campaign for the rapid scale-up of the vaccine in the WHO and other immunisation programmes.

"These findings build a strong case for the phase III trials we have planned for 11 sites in Africa, says Abdulla, who participated in the trials at Tanzania's Tanga Medical Research Centre.

Africa's top 10 positive developments 2008

Nothing good ever comes out of Africa? Nonsense. In this top 10 we profile events and developments of 2008 which are significantly positive and meaningful. These 10 events bring hope. Join our discussion.
haile wins berlin.jpg
Good things out of Africa in 2008 according to the AfricaNews editorial team

1. Peaceful elections in Ghana,
2. Continues growth of many African economies (Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Angola, etc, etc),
3. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of war torn Liberia keeps her country stable,
4. Peaceful elections in Angola,
5. Cheap broadband internet seriously on its way (Seacom, Intelsat, O3B),
6. Haile Gebrselassie breaks word record marathon,
7. Mobile banking in Kenya,
8. University Mogadishu lauds its first 20 doctors in 20 years,
9. President Mutharika greatly improves food security Malawi,
10. Zimbabwe's Eric Moyo wins Idols Africa.

(11. Barack Obama elected president of the USA)

This is a first step. Now we want your imput: What did we miss? Do you disagree? Perhaps you know a better top 10? Let us know. Make yourself heard and join the discussion.


It's christmas time and it's a moment we all see the year coming to an end and christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ:It is also a moment that instills hope and opens the heart of many.I decided to publish this post as a medium to reopen the hearts of many of us,to do do important acts of kindness in favour of underpreviledged children and also to forster development.

The problem:
The majority of Tanzania's electricity supply is generated by hydropower. This is highly vulnerable to drought, which is occurring more frequently with climate change. In 2006, a severe drought resulted in countrywide power cuts and blackouts.

Currently, the electrical grid reaches a small proportion of the country's population. In rural areas, families rely on firewood for cooking, kerosene for lanterns and disposable batteries to power small electric appliances such as radios. Rural schools often have no access to electricity at all, which makes study difficult. Many children never receive the education that could help them build lives free from poverty.

Hydropower is already under immense strain and cannot be extended. There is an urgent need for Tanzania to use alternative sources of energy to improve access to electricity.


The solution:
Tanzania benefits from some of the highest levels of sun exposure in the world. This makes it ideal for establishing solar-power as a major source of electricity, which can be done in three ways:

Micro-solar enterprise
We urgently need to train poor people in rural Tanzania to build solar-powered radios, mobiles and lamps. With your help, we can teach them finance and marketing skills, so they can set up their own business selling their products to local people, at an affordable price.

Solar education
To fight global warming, we must work with school children and teachers to raise awareness of the need for renewable energy sources. With funding, we can teach them to assemble solar lanterns, so children can study at home.

Solar school installation
This project aims to install 300W systems in 100 schools over four years. This will give pupils and teachers access to the Internet, as well as lighting for evening study and extracurricular activities. A reliable electricity supply will help increase literacy, school attendance and teacher retention.

By supporting this project you will help us to:

1. Alleviate poverty by providing poor rural people with a valuable income.

2. Raise awareness of solar energy as a clean and renewable source of power, which can replace polluting fossil fuels.

3. Make solar power technology readily available to school children and their respective families, enabling students to study during the evenings.

What your gift will buy:
We urgently need funds to pay for materials and training:

* Micro-solar materials: Solar glass, diodes, wood, wires, crocodile clips, rechargeable batteries, battery holders, battery connectors and fold-back clips, frames.

* Support funds and training for SolarAid Project /Training coordinators.

* Volunteer expenses and accommodation.

* Solar materials for schools.

* Travel and insurance costs for volunteers and staff.

To meet the people involved, watch videos and read updates from Tanzania, go to the blog
Light up the developing world
Categories: Education and Livelihoods
Project Name: Solar for children
Country: Tanzania
About: This project will create jobs for the poorest people, and bring solar power to local communities and school children.
Regions: Mtwara/Lindi, Kagera and Dodoma
Duration: Four years and three months
Cost: £999,038.95