In a groundbreaking achievement, Universal Corporation Ltd (UCL), a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Kenya, has become the first African company to receive World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification for its sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine + amodiaquine (SPAQ) product, a vital malaria prevention drug.
SPAQ is instrumental in Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) programs, designed to protect children during peak malaria transmission periods. UCL’s prequalified SPAQ is anticipated to bolster SMC initiatives, enhancing access to quality medicines, fortifying malaria prevention efforts, and promoting economic development.
Supported by Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), UCL’s achievement aligns with the African Union Agenda 2063 ambitions, emphasizing self-sufficiency in public health systems. The WHO recognition highlights UCL’s commitment to the highest quality standards in antimalarial drug production.
Perviz Dhanani, Founder and Managing Director of UCL, expressed the significance of WHO prequalification, stating it is a substantial step forward in advancing the fight against malaria and improving community health across Africa.
Local manufacturing’s pivotal role in enhancing public health systems in Africa was emphasized by Dr Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The prequalification positions UCL to contribute to the expansion of SMC programs, ensuring more children receive protection during high transmission seasons.
Recent studies also indicate that combining SPAQ with WHO-recommended malaria vaccines increases protection among children under 5. This achievement underscores the dedication and expertise of UCL and ongoing collaboration between MMV and African manufacturers.
The WHO-prequalified SPAQ holds the potential to significantly reduce malaria-related illnesses and deaths, marking a crucial step in combatting this deadly disease on the African continent.