Blantyre townships Ndirande and Zingwangwa have been reported to have high prevalence of typhoid internationally with up to 100,000 incidents in children aged 0 to 10 on a yearly basis according to research by Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust and College of Medicine.
Professor Melita Gordon, who works for the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and at the College of Medicine and is group head of Salmonella and Enterics Group with 22 years of experience in Malawi, told participants at the 55th research seminar in the Blantyre.
Gordon was presenting her findings on the strategy for salmonella vaccines in the country under the theme ‘Preventing death from invasive disease’.
She told the participants that Malawi has faced problems in typhoid and non-typhoid salmonella diseases.
Gordon explained: “When we look at children in the pre-school age and young school age children we see that the prevalence is somewhere around 100 to 400 per 100,000 children approximately.”
She argued those are not final figures but looking internationally they count as high incident areas.
“These areas we are working in have high incidents of typhoid internationally speaking,” she said, before mentioning places like Bangladesh and Nepal as some of the examples.
A vaccine trial started in 2012 and 101,761 children have been vaccinated over 3 trial sites but Gordon said right now the focus is to have the data so government can roll out a full vaccines campaign.
“The number one priority is to have this trial completed, we know that we are the only, the first trail happening in Africa.”
“We are going to be the first piece of evidence across the whole continent, we know that governments right across Africa are watching Malawi to see the results of our trials so it is very important that we finish the trial well and completely,” she said.
Gordon then disclosed the trial will take about a year and a half so far.
She pointed out that the vaccine trials have been successful so far with because of the partnership with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and College of Medicine who she said removed a lot of the barriers which we could have had in terms of operational research
The World Health Organization has put out suggestions to governments to consider how they will implement the vaccine something Gordon said the government of Malawi is also doing.
Gordon divulged that there is a threat of drug resistance to antibiotics.