Anyone can get malaria, but women and girls are uniquely affected by the health, economic and societal impacts of this deadly disease.
Malaria means a heightened risk of morbidity and mortality for pregnant women and girls, as well as an increased probability of mortality and short-to-long-term health risks for their newborn babies.1 This, in turn, contributes to keeping women and girls away from school and work, exacerbating gender inequalities in educational attainment and in the workplace, and ultimately intensifying gendered power imbalances in society.
And yet, for too long, the fight against malaria has been gender-blind—including the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of antimalarial medicines in women and girls of reproductive potential. Even if adequate numbers of women and girls are enrolled in clinical trials, the extra steps of separating data by gender, and publishing that data, are not systematically pursued. This results in not only a gap in the availability of medicines for pregnant and lactating women and girls, but a wider gender knowledge gap, making it difficult to understand whether medicines act differently in men and women.
MMV is working to remedy this with the Malaria in Mothers and Babies (MiMBa) strategy, a cross-functional approach which aims to a) conceptualize malaria bio-medical and clinical research in a way that eliminates gender bias in clinical outcomes b) scale up the availability of preventive malaria treatment in pregnancy.
As part of the initiative, MMV aims to fill the gender knowledge gap with the establishment of pregnancy registries to generate evidence on the use of existing antimalarials throughout pregnancy. The data gathered will inform policymakers regarding decisions that will ultimately benefit pregnant women and girls at risk of malaria and facilitate their access to lifesaving medicines.
A world without malaria is a world full of opportunities, including for women to fully enjoy their right to a rewarding life free of disease. MMV is committed to an approach to drug development and access that to empowers women and ensures their right to health fully materializes.
→ Read the MiMBa strategy.
→ Learn more about MMV’s approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion