Awa is 19 – and pregnant. She lives in a West African country, where she is constantly at risk of contracting malaria. This tropical disease can be fatal and people in poorer countries are particularly vulnerable. Effective, safe treatments for malaria do exist, but these are not suitable for pregnant women. Awa can protect herself with mosquito nets and preventive therapy, but as certain malaria pathogens grow more resistant, preventive therapy is no longer effective in some areas. New products must therefore be researched and developed. That said, potential customers have limited financial resources at their disposal. Thus the incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in this is low. This is precisely where the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) comes in.
Capitalising on its many years of experience, it supports new partnerships between pharmaceutical companies, public research bodies and other actors. They have already successfully developed a range of affordable products to fight diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and sleeping sickness. So what are the results so far? Even people living in poverty are now able to get the medicines they need. But before Awa can benefit from these products, they have to be approved in her country. SDC supports accelerated quality approval procedures in partner countries. It also advocates health insurance models that are within everyone's reach. Health is a human right, but one that is not guaranteed for more than a billion people. The health inequalities that persist today are a violation of human rights. And yet other things too are required in order for Awa and her son to be healthy and remain healthy: clean air, clean water, soil free of pollution, a balanced diet and sufficient exercise are also important.
SDC – Switzerland taking action.