Assessing Public Awareness Of The Malaria Vaccine In Sub-saharan Africa

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Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease


Background: Malaria infection remains one of the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, several measures have been implemented for the prevention of malaria, including vector control with insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, and seasonal or traveling prophylactics. In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the use of the malaria vaccine in children. We conducted a cross-sectional survey study in three sub-Saharan African countries—Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria—to assess public awareness of the malaria vaccine among the residents of these countries. Method: A cross-sectional, web-based survey was conducted between time January 2022 and April 2022 using Qualtrics® software (Version number: April 2022; Qualtrics, Provo, UT, USA). A total of 3896 responses were analyzed using SAS OnDemand for Academics software. Linear regression model was used to assess the relationship between the demographic characteristics and awareness of the malaria vaccine, using a level of significance (alpha) of 0.05. Result: Overall, there was significant association between the level of education and public awareness of the malaria vaccine in each of the countries studied. Gender and place of residence were associated with awareness in Nigeria and Uganda, while younger respondents were more likely to be aware of the malaria vaccine in Ghana. Conclusion: Given the negative impact of lack of awareness and knowledge, misinformation and conspiracy theories on immunization programs, public health campaigns preceding the population-wide roll-out of the novel malaria vaccine should target the less-educated, and those residing in more rural areas, while assuring equitable access to the malaria vaccine across sub-Saharan Africa.