We will be providing life-saving and life enhancing medicine for infants and young children in Malawi and Sub-Saharan Africa
Cerebral (Severe) Malaria
Every two minutes a child, under the age of 5, dies in Africa, due to malaria. Young children that are infected with malaria often show severe symptoms, including seizures and coma.
WHO guidelines recommend that a fraction of a tablets must be given to the smallest children, since dosing of children <10 kg is limited by the tablet sizes currently available.
Tablets are not as easy as it might sound, since the child is often having difficulties swallowing due to vomiting, lethargy, or even a coma.
If injections are used, they only contain one active ingredient. This can lead to the parasites developing resistance, which is of big concern today. We must use a combination product.
There is a serious need to provide an appropriate dosage form that can
secure a safe and effective treatment for this age group (0-5 years).
Together with Hananja plc, the Rephaiah project has developed an
affordable and an easy-to-use pediatric delivery system, that contains both drugs required.
This product does not depend on the child being alert and able to swallow. This product will also allow the treatment to be carried out in rural areas, where access to hospital settings is limited.
Schistosomiasis - Bilharzia
Schistosomiasis (bilharzia, snail fever) is the second highest disease burden in Africa, after malaria.
Most infants and children under the age of 6 years are currently not being included in mass drug administration campaigns against schistosomiasis.
According to the WHO, the reason is due to lack of a suitable formulation of the drug, praziquantel, to these age groups.
Recent studies have shown that many areas have high prevalence of schistosomiasis in young children, especially in the areas around Lake Malawi. Even cities where rivers flow through, such as Blantyre (in Malawi), up to 30-40% of the children (<5 years) are infected with bilharzia. The situation is similar in other Sub-Saharan African Countries.
The snail carrying the parasite causing the disease is also found in rice fields, causing high
prevalence of the disease in areas where rice is cultivated. When children do not receive treatment, the disease will cause impaired cognitive development, memory, and growth, and they will become a high burden to society.
Additionally, studies have shown that people infected with bilharzia are four times more likely to become infected with HIV. Therefore, reports suggest that if schistosomiasis is eliminated, that may be a backdoor way of preventing the spread of HIV.
In collaboration with the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, Rephaiah will be involved in manufacturing pediatric formulation of the active form of praziquantel, for children down to the age of 2 months. This will improve their cognitive growth, improve their learning skills and may prevent them from being infected with HIV, and improve their overall health.