MMV and Transaid partner to tackle severe malaria in Zambia

Project set to inform nationwide strategy to manage life-threatening severe malaria

31 Oct 2017

MMV joins forces with International development organisation Transaid* in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Center (NMEC) of Zambia, to develop innovative approaches to improve severe malaria case management in rural areas.

The project, known as MAMaZ Against Malaria (MAM), aims to address the lack of access to quality severe malaria treatment commodities and case management in Serenje District, Central Province, Zambia, which has high malaria prevalence rates. In line with WHO guidance, optimal case management of severe malaria in remote areas involves use of rectal artesunate suppositories (RAS) for pre-referral treatment of severe malaria at the community level, followed by injectable artesunate (Inj AS) treatment at the health facility level.

The two organisations will help to pilot the introduction of RAS, and will seek to reduce barriers and delays in seeking treatment at the community and at the facility level, including by strengthening emergency transport systems. The project will serve as a pilot to inform development of an evidence-based and sustainable strategy for improving nationwide access to successful management of severe malaria in high-malaria-burden settings.

Transaid’s CEO Caroline Barber comments: “Our consortium is very proud of our achievements in the MAMaZ and MORE MAMaZ programmes, where skilled birth attendance rates increased by 27% and 32%, respectively, after several decades of minimal improvement. We are delighted to be partnering with MMV to now tackle severe malaria in Serenje and to build sustainable capacity to continue the work once the project has ended.”

“Rectal artesunate suppositories are a life-saving intervention,” said Dr David Reddy, MMV’s CEO, “and one of the most important for malaria since the WHO prequalification of injectable artesunate. The majority of lives lost to malaria are those of children living far from health services, who simply don’t get the treatment they need in time. By improving access to RAS as well as injectable artesunate we can help change that. We are really excited to be collaborating with Transaid on this project to help save lives today and in the future.”

*Implemented by a consortium of partners – Transaid, Health Partners Zambia (HPZ), and the Zambian organisations Development Data and Disacare together with MMV – the project builds on approaches successfully used in the Mobilizing Access to Maternal Health Services in Zambia (MAMaZ) and the MORE MAMaZ programmes which ran between 2011 and 2016.