Uganda and MMV explore innovative ways to give patients access to life-saving antimalarials

Collaboration to explore innovative ways in which the private sector can provide improved access to artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs)

09 May 2007

Today, Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) announced a collaboration to explore innovative ways in which the private sector can provide improved access to artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs), the gold standard antimalarial recommended by the World Health Organization.

The announcement was made by the President of Uganda at MMV’s annual stakeholder meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting, whose theme this year is ‘The Power of Partnerships’ was attended by leading players in malaria research and control ranging from the National Malaria Control Programmes, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Novartis, and ExxonMobil.

In this partnership, both MMV and the Ugandan Government will work with the private sector to provide subsidized ACTs to complement the Ugandan health-facility-based distribution of these drugs. The aim is to reach those who normally do not have easy access to public health facilities. This will involve understanding the reality of the problem malaria poses at the grass roots level, designing an intervention to address the challenges raised, and closely evaluating the intervention and its health impact in Uganda.

Commenting on the collaboration with MMV, President Yoweri K. Museveni stated, “I am delighted to announce this collaboration with the Medicines for Malaria Venture. By working together and building on existing initiatives this vital groundwork will ultimately have a huge impact on the lives of my fellow Ugandans by facilitating wider and quicker access to essential medicines.”

“As we have several ACTs coming out of our pipeline in the next two years, it is critical that we help ensure that these drugs rapidly reach those in need,” said Dr. Chris Hentschel, CEO and President of MMV. “We are honored to partner with Uganda’s Ministry of Health to find ways to make these life-saving drugs accessible beyond the public sector. We hope our work here will help lead the way for other countries with similar challenges.”

This year MMV’s annual stakeholder meeting emphasizes the importance of building partnerships with public and private sectors, both globally and within the African continent, to defeat malaria.

Malaria poses a major 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.

 


 

Notes to editors

Contacts:

  • Dr. Sam Zaramba Director General of Health Services, PO box 7272 Kampala, Uganda
  • Jaya Banerji, MMV