11 September 2017 | Press release

Unitaid and government of Mozambique launch TIPTOP project to prevent malaria in pregnancy

TIPTOP
The project will miss no opportunity to reach women in remote and rural villages in Mozambique (shown here), Madagascar, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo (Image: Jhpiego/Kate Holt)

Maputo – The government of Mozambique and Unitaid today launched an ambitious project to bring lifesaving anti-malarial medication to hard-to-reach pregnant women in four African countries.

Dr. Nazira Karimo Vali Abdula, Minister of Health for Mozambique, joined Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Unitaid, for the global launch of TIPTOP, the “Transforming IPT for Optimal Pregnancy” project whose goal is to bring transformative malaria prevention care to 400,000 pregnant women and their babies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria.

“We are particularly honored that Mozambique has been chosen as the venue for the launch on behalf of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar, where TIP TOP will also be implemented,” said Dr. Abdula. “The launch of the TIPTOP project, which we are witnessing today, is a recognition of the importance of preventing malaria in pregnancy worldwide, at a time when there is a global call for the need to accelerate the implementation of actions in order to achieve the goals set out in the Global Malaria Strategy 2016-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030. This also presents an opportunity to mobilize other sectors and partners to commit resources to improving the health of women and children”.

Malaria in pregnancy is a public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Mozambique in particular. According to the survey of Indicators of Immunization, Malaria, HIV/AIDS in Mozambique (IMASIDA, 2015), more than 28% of pregnant women are infected with malaria.

In Mozambique, most pregnant women seek prenatal services relatively late, contributing to the low coverage of Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) of malaria in pregnancy. According to IMASIDA 2015, less than 25% of women received three or more doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) during their last pregnancy.

Through the TIPTOP project, community health workers, health volunteers, traditional birth attendants and community counselors will administer SP at the community level, increasing the number of pregnant women accessing prenatal services. A key objective of Unitaid’s US$50 million project is to develop research and evidence to inform the World Health Organization’s policy on IPTp.

“We are excited to see Mozambique launching the TIPTOP project that will provide pregnant women with a life-saving medicine that protects them and their infants from malaria,” said Lelio Marmora, Unitaid Executive Director. “It shows how by thinking outside the box, Unitaid and its partners can accelerate access to innovative health products for those who need them most.”

Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, will oversee and manage the project in partnership with local governments. Jhpiego has partnered with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), which will lead the research and evaluation components of the project. The two organizations will also collaborate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Medicines for Malaria Venture to achieve the desired project results.

“Through support from Unitaid and our partners in Mozambique and across Africa, the TIPTOP partnership—led by Jhpiego—is embarking on a bold project that has the potential to change the way countries across Sub-Saharan Africa prevent malaria in pregnancy,” said Dr. Leslie Mancuso, President and CEO of Jhpiego. The project goes beyond just what we can do today, to creating long-term, scalable, sustainable impact across a generation, saving the lives of mothers and their babies.”

Spain’s Infanta Cristina de Borbon, Chair of the Board of Trustees at ISGlobal, also addressed the TIPTOP launch ceremony in Maputo.

In Sub-Saharan African countries with a high transmission of malaria, pregnant women and young children are especially vulnerable to the disease.  Malaria during pregnancy can seriously impact the health of newborns, leading to low birth-weight and even still births. In some cases, malaria can be fatal for the mother.

“Fighting malaria is at the core of ISGlobal’s work and the Manhiça Health Research Center, our long-lasting partner in Mozambique. The learning-driven approach of the TIPTOP project fits very well with our vision that links knowledge generation, development of capacities, action and impact on health,” said Dr Antoni Plasència, Director General of ISGlobal.

The launch was part of a high-level meeting on leveraging innovation to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, organized by Mozambique’s Ministry of Health and Unitaid.

About Jhpiego

Jhpiego, an international nonprofit health organization affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University, has worked for 45 years to empower frontline health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families.

About ISGlobal

The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the result of an innovative alliance between the “la Caixa” Foundation, academic institutions and government bodies, was set up to contribute to the work undertaken by the international community to address the challenges of health in a globalized world.

About Unitaid

Unitaid is an international organization that invests in new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more cheaply and more effectively. It accelerates access to innovation so critical health products reach people who most need them. Unitaid’s work allows large-scale introduction of health products through funding by the Global Fund, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and governments.

For more information go to https://tiptopmalaria.org/

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