Morocco is not taking malaria seriously: Experts


Morocco is currently on high alert after a spate of new cases of the parasitic disease in the country, which has not experienced a single case since 2009.

Now, researchers say the government’s plan to boost the number of malaria vaccines available for use in the population has not been sufficient. 

According to Moroccan officials, the country has more than 10,000 cases of malaria and has received 2,000 vaccines so far.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the number is only a fraction of the number that is actually out there, but the country is taking malaria much more seriously than it should. 

The government announced on Friday that the first two doses of its malaria vaccine would be distributed in April and May, and the rest of the vaccines would be ready in June.

The first vaccine is a combination of the three vaccines that are currently available, according to the Moroccan Health Ministry. 

“There are only two or three cases per day, and in the meantime, the health authorities are taking malaria very seriously,” Dr. Omar Abd-Rabak, a malaria specialist at the Institute for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Moroccan Academy of Sciences, told Al Jazeera.

“We have seen some cases of high fever, severe vomiting and diarrhea.

But the malaria vaccine is still a very dangerous drug, and we are not taking it seriously.”

The government has not announced when it will give the last of the vaccine.

Abd-Dabak added that the government was worried that the vaccine would not be available for several more months, as the vaccination campaign had been extended to coincide with a World Health Day.

“It is not an issue of when we will be able to give the vaccine to the population, it is more important that we give it to the people who are vulnerable, and that is the elderly, the young and the women,” Abd-dabak said.

“This is a major issue.

If the vaccine does not reach the population quickly, then we could have a big outbreak.”

The first vaccine that was delivered to Morocco will be the two-dose version, and Abd-Bak said that the two doses would be given out in April-May and the third vaccine would arrive in June-July. 

In an interview with the Moroccan daily newspaper, El Masri, Dr. Mamdouh El Khader, the director of the Moroccan National Institute for Vaccine Research, said that Morocco is preparing for an increase in the number and intensity of cases in the coming months. 

He said that, since the vaccine was announced in January, the number for the year has increased by 7 percent. 

Mamdous statement comes just a week after the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations agency tasked with monitoring the situation of malaria in the world, warned that the situation in Morocco was deteriorating. 

Since September, the WHO has reported at least 10 new cases and three deaths of malaria-affected people in the tiny Moroccan republic. 

Morocco, a country of 3.3 million people, is one of the poorest in the region, with an average monthly income of just $2,500, according to the World Bank. 

At the height of the epidemic, in the summer of 2015, Morocco had seen more than 1,000 new cases, and it had taken three years to end the pandemic, according the WHO.

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