Dr. Walter Otieno has been recognized for his participation in the Mosquirix Malaria vaccine medical research by Maseno University.
Dr. Otieno participated in the vaccine pilot study as chief investigator in Kisumu and expects mothers to use the vaccine which was recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Malaria vaccine approval was based on results from an ongoing pilot program in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. The key findings of the pilots inform the recommendation based on data and insights generated from two years of vaccination at child health clinics in the three pilot countries.
GlaxoSmithKline developed the vaccine with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Unitaid funded the pilot program.
In 2010, Dr. Otieno was among the medical experts who participated in a 4 month pre-vaccine trial on malaria. In 2016, he was invited to work as chief investigator of the vaccine pilot study in Kombewa, in Kisumu county. During that time, he headed the pediatrics department at the School of Medicine, Maseno University.
Throughout his career, Dr. Otieno has worked with 280 medical professionals, including consultants, nutritionists, laboratory technicians, clinicians and nurses.
The malaria vaccine trial 5 lasted five years and saw an enrollment of 1,631 children in Kombewa aged between six weeks and 17 months. They come from different sub-counties including Muhoroni, Seme, Kisumu West, Kisumu East and Kisumu Central. Nyando and Nyakach acted as control areas.
However, the study further revealed that only 10 out of 1600 children died of natural death. The malaria vaccine only provides about 50% protection against the severe effects of the disease.
Other protective measures include the use of bed nets, proper hygiene, and visits to hospitals in case of signs and symptoms.
So far, more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been given in 3 countries. This resulted in a 30% reduction in hospitalization due to severe malaria and a 21% reduction in hospitalization with malaria infection.