Ndapele Julie is waiting with her son, Jean, for a consultation with the nurse of the Sidi health centre, one of the 17 health centres support by MSF in the Bili health zone. Jean is three-year-old. Since one day he has a fever and convulsions. His mother thinks he has malaria. “The season of the mosquitos, the rainy season, has started here in Sidi. It’s always around this time a lot of children get malaria.” She says. Photograph by Carl Theunis
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Malaria Drug Rectal Artesunate Stakeholder's Meeting

Photograph by Carl Theunis

According to the World Health Organization, the number of malaria deaths has fallen globally from 839,000 in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015. This is partly due to the scale up of artesunate-based combination therapies and specifically the use of injectable artesunate for the most severe forms of the disease.

However, there are still many malaria deaths because patients simply cannot reach a health care center, where these injections can be administered, quickly enough.

That same drug, artesunate, will soon become available in the form of a rectal capsule. These suppositories can be administered to children presenting with symptoms of severe malaria by community health workers with a basic training. This basic intervention will protect the child long enough to reach the nearest health facility where more sophisticated treatment can be provided.

In February 2016, MSF’s Malaria Working Group co-organized a meeting with other stakeholders to discuss and prepare the next steps towards the correct use and roll-out of this life-saving drug and decentralized pre-referral treatment approach.

The meeting highlighted the need for rapid availability of of this drug that has to be affordable, and of the highest quality-assured quantities of this drug, as well as the need to further develop integrated care at the community level that is strongly linked to the health care system.

Malaria Drug Rectal Artesunate Stakeholder's Meeting