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Malaria Vaccine is a Game Changer for Lives in Africa

Bello Abdul Hakeem Bolaji is one of the millions of people across Africa who’ve grown up with Malaria.The 25-year-old from Nigeria reckons the historic decision for children across most of the continent to be vaccinated is life-changing.

The disease is under control in most continents,apart from in Africa, where more than 260,000 children died from it in 2019. Bello, who works in artificial intelligence, said that it is game-changing news. When they first heard, it was so exciting. Technology defines the modern world and solutions like vaccines have saved the world before from polio, measles and even Covid-19.

Malaria is a parasite spread by mosquitoes, and mostly kills babies and infants. Developing a vaccine after 100 years of trying is seen as one of medicine’s biggest achievements. Bello had to look after his younger sister when she caught Malaria at the age of 12. She has sickle cell disease – which affects red blood cells – and struggled. He said that his parents were out of the country and I was the only one, and I was around 17 or 18.

He also added that in the middle of the night, she started crying, vomiting, her temperature was high and she couldn’t even see me. So many things were going on, he was very scared. He started screaming for the neighbours to help me. He rushed to the hospital to get her tested.  Bello says he’s one of the lucky ones as his family could pay the money needed to start treatment – but many others can’t afford it.

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