Saving lives, changing practice

Saudat is 3 years old. On 27 August 2012, Saudat was admitted to Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital (MMSH) in Kano state, Nigeria, unconscious, with convulsions and a temperature of 38.9°C. She had severe malaria. Her life was at risk.

Injectable artesunate (Artesun® 60mg) was administered immediately, and then regularly for a period of 48 hrs. Two days later, Saudat gained consciousness and was put on a regimen of Coartem® (artemether-lumefantrine), an oral artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), to cure her. Injectable artesunate had helped reduce the severity of malaria and saved her life.
“Working in malaria, and especially in access and delivery of antimalarials, is challenging,” said Pierre Hugo, a member of MMV’s Access and Delivery team. “Seeing Saudat recover so quickly was amazing. It’s hugely satisfying to see a product that we have supported put to use, and truly humbling to meet the health-care providers who save lives on a daily basis.”

Injectable artesunate is a product of Guilin Pharmaceutical. MMV helped Guilin bring its production to standards required by WHO for prequalification. In November 2010, injectable artesunate was granted prequalification by the WHO. Since then, MMV and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) have been working to increase the uptake and use of this life-saving medicine in Nigeria through the ‘Injectable artesunate scale-up project’.
Dr Binta, Head of Paediatrics at MMSH, the busiest referral hospital in Kano, a state in northern Nigeria, informed MMV that, based on Saudat’s and a handful of other cases’ positive response to treatment, her department has switched from quinine to injectable artesunate for all admitted cases of severe malaria. Furthermore, the Hospital Management Board has started to procure this life-saving medicine for other hospitals in the state to treat many more severe malaria patients – small ripples can make big waves.