Advancing access to life-saving severe malaria medicines

Issue

In 2016, an estimated 445,000 people lost their lives to malaria, 90% in Africa.1 If left untreated, uncomplicated malaria can progress within a few hours to severe malaria − a condition that can kill. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that severe malaria be treated with injectable artesunate (Inj AS) in preference to quinine or artemether, as it saves more lives.2

As time is of the essence when treating severe malaria, the WHO also recommends the use of rectal artesunate (RAS) for prereferral management of the disease in areas where comprehensive treatment and care cannot immediately be provided. A single dose of RAS significantly reduces the risk of death and permanent disability. Despite this recommendation, until 2018 no WHO prequalified product existed, severely limiting its use.

Action

  • Enable two pharmaceutical partners, Cipla and Strides Shasun, to develop and obtain WHO prequalification for RAS products.
  • Optimize the correct use of Inj AS and RAS in low-resource settings in Africa to help reduce mortality and neurological damage caused by severe malaria in affected children.

More information in an interview with Caroline Barber, CEO of Transaid.


1. World Health Organization. World Malaria Report 2017.
2. World Health Organization. Guidelines for the treatment of malaria. Third edition. April 2015.