WHO-prequalified seasonal malaria chemoprevention will now be available to countries
On 20 October 2014, the World Health Organization announced the prequalification of Guilin Pharmaceutical’s co-blistered sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine + amodiaquine (SP+AQ) tablets for 1-5 year olds.
The prequalification of SP+AQ will be welcome news to countries in the Sahel and sub-Sahel regions of Africa that have adopted seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) as a policy to protect children from malaria during the rainy season. They will now be able to purchase quality-assured SP+AQ using donor funds for this vulnerable population.
Around 39 million children under 5 years of age live in these regions, where an estimated 152,000 die each year from malaria. The WHO estimates that SMC using SP+AQ could protect 25 million children under the age of 5 in the Sahel, thus averting 75% of malaria episodes1 and 20,000 deaths a year.2
Via the prequalification process, the WHO assesses and approves the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products, helping funders and international procurement agencies select from a range of quality-assured medicines.
2. Cairns M et al. Estimating the potential public health impact of seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children. Nat Commun. 3:881. (2012).