The United States Global Malaria Coordinator Dr. David Walton on Thursday February 9th said that Burundi is expected to receive malaria vaccines in June this year following the country’s application to be part of the program last year.
While addressing the press in Bujumbura yesterday, Dr. Walton indicated that the deployment of malaria vaccine in the country will have a great impact toward the fight against the disease.
“Though this is a major step towards the fight against malaria, there is still needs a clear understanding on behavioural adoption like sleeping under mosquito net and other measures which remain fundamental in fighting against the disease,” he added.
Burundi is expected to receive 500,000 doses of malaria vaccine that is expected to vaccinate atleast 250,000 children countrywide according to the USAID malaria advisor Dr. Louise Mahan.
According to Dr. Louise there is need for behaviour change in order to successfully fight malaria in the country, “access to medical facilities is still a challenge especially for diagnosis and malaria treatment so we are trying to put treatment and prevention measures close to the population,” said Dr. Louise Mahan.
Since 2010 the United States through USAID invested $127 million in malaria control in Burundi, focusing on vector control, prevention, case management, social behavior change, and commodity procurement.
According to the 2023 World Malaria Report, Burundi was among the three countries worldwide that experienced a significant increase in malaria incidence between 2015 and 2022, with a rise of up to 31 percent.
During his visit, Dr. Walton engaged with government officials, public health professionals, and visited various health initiatives combating malaria in Bujumbura and Gitega.
In April 2023, Burundi became a PMI partner country, joining Gambia and Togo among the 24 existing partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States plays a pivotal role in the global fight against malaria through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), aimed at expediting the eradication of malaria.
This designation elevates the PMI program in Burundi from basic malaria management to a more comprehensive implementation of PMI’s strategies, enhancing the country’s capacity to combat malaria effectively.
The designation of Burundi as a PMI Partner Country will significantly augment interventions against malaria, with the budget set to increase from $8 million to $15 million in fiscal year 2023. Three new projects slated to begin including PMI Evolve, PM Breakthrough Action, and CHISU, further reinforcing efforts to combat malaria in Burundi.