MoH - MMV: Bold intervention being designed in Uganda to deliver subsidized effective antimalarials

Workshop series on determining the elements of an intervention designed to launch a high-quality subsidized artemisinin combination therapy

01 Oct 2007

The final report, presentations and further information on this Workshop Series are now available

Kampala, Uganda - The Ministry of Health Uganda and the non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have held a successful workshop to determine the elements of an intervention designed to launch a high-quality subsidized artemisinin combination therapy in six study districts in Uganda through the private sector. This intervention is a proof of concept to prove that universal availability of affordable artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs) will reduce mortality and morbidity from malaria in vulnerable populations.

Malaria poses an enormous public health challenge in Uganda with almost 50 malaria infections for every 100 people. The Ugandan Government has taken great strides in tackling this challenge by successfully providing ACTs via all public health facilities. However, over 60% of the Ugandan population still access treatment through private channels where currently ACTs are either not available or are too expensive for most people. The intervention under discussion addresses this critical problem.

Over 80 participants at the workshop represented the MoH Uganda, National Malaria Control Programmes, National Drug Regulatory Authorities, malaria programmes in seven study districts, local NGOs, international organizations such as the WHO, the Global Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), MMV, the pharmaceutical industry, distributors and suppliers of antimalarials in Uganda. Participants came from afar (e.g., Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Nigeria, US, Switzerland, India) to attend this exciting workshop.

At the workshop, results were revealed of two sets of surveys conducted over the past four months on:

  • health seeking behaviour of malaria patients that govern the demand for antimalarials
  • antimalarial market, supply chain and pricing of antimalarials in Uganda

The surveys sought to understand the demand and supply of antimalarial drugs in Uganda.

The results from the survey will be incorporated into the design of a MoH-MMV intervention that will supply a subsidized ACT to selected study areas in the east and west of the country. The final session of the workshop on 1 and 2 October will draft a roadmap for the way forward.

“This exciting initiative will benefit Uganda tremendously. Our people are dying from lack of effective and affordable antimalarials. The MoH-MMV intervention might just be the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr Rwakimari, Head of the National Malaria Control Programme, Uganda.

“It has been an honour for MMV to work with the Government of Uganda in this initiative - they have been enthusiastic and forward-thinking, and the welfare of Ugandan citizens has been their primary concern throughout. The success of this initiative will assure us that the new antimalarials we are working so hard to develop will be able to be delivered to those whose lives are scarred by this deadly disease,” said Dr Chris Hentschel, President and CEO of MMV.

 


 

Notes to editors

Contacts:

Paul Kagwa, Assistant Commissioner, Health Education and Promotion, MoH, Uganda
Mobile: +256 (0) 77 25 34 816

Jaya Banerji, MMV