Lucy Akinyi’s three children were infected with malaria so often she would be at their local health clinic in western Kenya every other week getting them treated.
When offered the chance to protect her children with the world’s first vaccine against the deadly parasitic disease, Akinyi jumped at the chance.
More than 100,000 children in malaria-endemic western Kenya have received the new vaccine against the disease, which kills 260,000 children under five every year in sub-Saharan Africa.
A pilot programme has been rolling out the groundbreaking drug — which was 30 years in the making — in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi since 2019.
It was approved for broad use for children in sub-Saharan Africa and other at-risk regions by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October last year.
For Akinyi and her extended family, the vaccine has worked wonders.
She would always place mosquito nets over her children while they slept, but despite her best efforts they would still get bitten outside while playing.
“We used to have a lot of malaria in our home. We could be at the hospital three times in a month,” Akinyi said.
But none of her children have tested positive for malaria since being vaccinated, she said, bringing her great comfort living in a region where the disease is a major killer.
“We are very happy because none of our children are sick,” Akinyi said.