UNITAID targets preventive malaria therapy in pregnant women in grant proposals call

GENEVA, 27 November 2015 – UNITAID has launched a call for proposals for grants to support increased access for pregnant women to intermittent preventive treatment of malaria. Coverage is lagging in Africa, putting  pregnant women and their babies at risk, despite WHO recommendations that all pregnant women in areas of moderate to high malaria transmission should get treatment.

More than 40 percent of pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are not being reached by preventive treatment for malaria. As a result, up to 200,000 deaths of newly born babies are linked to malaria infections during pregnancy.

The call follows an announcement earlier this month by the Executive Board of UNITAID to focus malaria investments in three areas: expanding access to preventive therapy in pregnant women; accelerating adoption of new  tools to fight emerging mosquito resistance to insecticide and accelerating introduction of emergency treatments for life-threatening severe malaria.

By defining clear areas for intervention to guide its work, UNITAID is ensuring that its grants drive innovation in support of global health goals and are more focused and efficient in a way that achieves more impact with scarce resources.

A big barrier to intermittent preventive treatment is the result of low demand by health workers and pregnant women, reflecting among other things doubts among health workers over the efficacy of the drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) which is recommended by WHO for use in the treatment.

Under the latest call, UNITAID is requesting proposals for two specific interventions with the aim of securing a big increase in access to preventive therapy in pregnant women. The interventions seek to:

  • Generate evidence for innovative approaches to delivery and demand generation, to support global guidance and scale-up;
  • Support adequate supply of SP, including adapted packaging.

The deadline for proposals is 22 February 2016

For full details of the call, click on the following link: