Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), focused on strengthening African manufacturing of malaria medicines.
The MoU was signed on the margins of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022), taking place in Kigali, Rwanda,
The objective of this agreement is to jointly enhance supply security and facilitate equitable access to quality approved anti-malarials and thereby maximize the use and health impact of existing products on the continent.
The MoU further outlines how MMV and Africa CDC will work with partners to ensure funding and procurement of locally manufactured quality-assured medicines. This includes advocacy to African Union (AU) Member States to implement free trade agreements to ensure regional distribution of locally manufactured, quality-assured medicines.
Through the agreement MMV and the Africa CDC affirmed their commitment to join efforts to achieve a common objective: to strengthen Africa’s manufacturing capability to tackle diseases like malaria that continue to plague the African continent.
“We believe that targeted investments and collaboration with select manufacturers will create opportunities to expand access to quality antimalarial throughout both the public and private sectors,” said Pierre Hugo, MMV’s Senior Director of Market Dynamics and Global Partnerships.
Dr. Nicaise Ndembi, Africa CDC’s Senior Science Advisor said that Africa is capable of manufacturing its own medicines and this partnership is needed.
“The partnership between Africa CDC and MMV will increase local medicine manufacturing and focus on establishing several regional hubs to manufacture Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and Finished Pharmaceutical Products (FPP).” Ndembi said.
The collaboration will support AU Member States and is aimed at accelerating and scaling-up African manufacturing, building on existing capacities and developing new ones to support the manufacture of quality-assured malaria APIs and FPPs.
The potential benefits of such a collaboration were highlighted with the recent WHO prequalification of a sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine a medicine which protects pregnant women from malaria, by Kenya-based Universal Corporation Limited (UCL), supported by MMV.
Rwanda in the Big Picture
This agreement comes at a time when Rwanda has been selected among four African countries that will start producing vaccines; including malaria and COVID-19, on the continent.
The MoU will be an additional effort to ensure equitable access and distribution of the malaria vaccine in Rwanda- which has so far made significant progress in ending malaria compared to its neighbors.
In Rwanda, ending malaria has been given a high priority with country efforts mainly funded by Global Fund (GF).
Through efficiency and data use, the Government extended external and Indoor residual spraying (IRS) in 12 high malaria burden districts where more than 70% of malaria cases come from.
Rwanda also scaled up Home-Based Management of Malaria to all ages and in all districts for early diagnosis and treatment by Community Health Workers (currently 56% of all malaria are managed by these volunteers).
In these combined efforts, Rwanda continued to witness a decrease in malaria cases from 4.8 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2020, and malaria-related deaths decreased from 700 in 2016 to 148 deaths in 2020.