Unitaid awards MMV new supply side grant

Grant will support expanded access to three quality-assured products for children and pregnant women

08 Dec 2017

Unitaid has signed an agreement granting MMV USD 3.4 million to improve the supply of three quality-assured, WHO-recommended products for populations most at risk of malaria. The grant will strengthen the global supply chain and support appropriate use of quality medicines needed to prevent malaria in children and pregnant women, as well as improve chances of survival of children with severe malaria in rural settings.

The three products are:

  • Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) for Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), for the protection of mothers and their unborn babies living in areas of high malaria transmission.
  • Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (SP+AQ) for Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC), a cost-effective malaria prevention measure, shown to reduce malaria episodes in children in areas of high seasonal malaria transmission across the Sahel by around 75%.
  • Rectal artesunate suppositories (RAS) for the pre-referral management of severe malaria, which helps reduce the risk of death and disability by ‘buying time’ until the patient can get to a healthcare facility for intravenous artesunate treatment of severe malaria.

MMV’s role is to support expanded access to SP, SP+AQ and RAS by ensuring an adequate WHO-prequalified supplier base for these critical chemoprevention and severe malaria commodities. In addition, MMV will conduct market research, firstly to test new drug packaging for SP to enhance its use specifically for IPTp; and secondly for RAS training materials to ensure appropriate use of this pre-referral intervention. Finally, the Severe Malaria Observatory will continue to be used as a knowledge-sharing platform to support this work and dissemination of key learnings and best practise.

“By accelerating access to malaria prevention and treatment interventions, we are hoping to avert further unnecessary deaths from the disease,” said Lelio Marmora, Unitaid’s Executive Director. “Unitaid continues to advance on all fronts by developing innovative tools to fight malaria and insecticide resistance.”

This work is closely integrated with two other malaria projects that Unitaid is supporting:

  • Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy (TIPTOP) project led by Jhpiego. This project is designed to create local evidence and buy-in to sustain and scale-up an innovative, community-based approach to expand coverage of IPTp in four countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria.
  • RAS project, designed to responsibly introduce quality assured RAS in select areas, and generate high-quality evidence on quality assured RAS implementation as part of a continuum of care for severe malaria patients. Led by Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

“With this Unitaid grant we can make a real difference to the supply of antimalarial commodities to those most vulnerable to malaria – children and pregnant women,” said Dr David Reddy, MMV’s CEO. “This is the third grant of its kind from Unitaid to MMV, illustrating the pressing need to accelerate access to antimalarials. MMV is committed to continuing this critical work in partnership to help cure and protect these populations and save lives from malaria.”