Fighting Malaria : The First African-Made Drug Gets WHO Approval

Eight months after approving the first anti- malaria vaccine, the World Health Organization has  issued a certification for the first antimalarial drug produced in Africa.

The announcement was made by made by Sp Wiwal on August 25, 2022.

Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) Wiwal® is the first African drug manufactured to prevent Malaria in pregnant women and infants.

SP is a generally known to be a well-tolerated, effective, and affordable anti-malaria drug.

The African-produced Malaria medication  is a product of a Kenyan Pharmaceutical company, Universal Corporation Ltd, (UCL).

UCL becomes the first African manufacturer to be issued a WHO quality certification of a key antimalarial drug used to prevent Malaria in pregnant women and children.

UCL Founder and Managing Director, Perviz Dhanani says his institution is also among five manufacturers in Africa to receive quality certification for any product.

“UCL is committed to supplying the African continent with quality medicines that are most needed by the people who live here. We’re filling a much-needed gap,” Dhanani said

UCL’s pre-qualification has come into fruition thanks to funding from the global health agency Unitaid and support from Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). 

Prequalification is a service provided by WHO that to  assess the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products

Following the ground-breaking achievement, Executive Director of Unitaid, Dr Philippe Duneto said “Unitaid welcomes the certification of UCL to produce this quality-assured antimalarial medicine in Africa, where about 95% of all illness and death from malaria occurs,”

He adds that “Reinforcing local production of medicines where they are needed is most is critical to building stronger and more resilient health responses.”

According to WHO’s 2021 World Malaria Report, 627,000 people globally – most of them being children below five in Africa. The report shows that WHO African region accounted for 95% of all Malaria cases and and 96% of total deaths in 2020.

Experts are hopeful that this new advancement in Malaria control and prevention will play a significant role in reducing the Malaria burden in Africa.

Kathy Neba Sina 

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