16 June 2021

Day of the African Child 2021

Today – International Day of the African Child – we celebrate the rights of children to a good quality of life and a healthy, prosperous future.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), compared with children living in Europe and other high-income regions, children in sub-Saharan Africa are over 14 times more likely to not make it to their fifth birthday, due mainly to preventable causes such as infectious diseases1. A lack of access to quality education, housing, nutrition, and the necessary healthcare services and interventions, is largely to blame.

At the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, this is our key focus. ­We believe that all children have a right to access treatment for preventable diseases. We have made it our mission to develop a pediatric formulation for the treatment of schistosomiasis, one of the most prevalent parasitic worm diseases worldwide.  

In children, schistosomiasis can cause anaemia, stunted growth and reduced learning ability, so treatment is essential in order to reduce the negative health and economic impacts.

At present, millions of preschool-age children are left untreated for this disease primarily due to the absence of a child-friendly formulation of praziquantel – the ‘standard of care’ treatment for schistosomiasis. To address this, the Consortium has developed a novel, orally dispersible pediatric praziquantel formulation suitable for use in children under the age of 6 who are at risk or infected with schistosomiasis. The consortium is a unique collaboration between industry, research and implementation partners that is also seeking to ensure that the new formulation is made accessible to the populations that need it.

[1] https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/child-health