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Treating infants and young children suffering from malaria

Every three minutes, two children under the age of 5 die in Africa due to malaria. Young children that are infected with malaria often show severe symptoms, including cerebral malaria with seizures and coma. 

WHO guidelines recommend the usage of adult tablets. Dosing of children <10 kg is limited by the tablet sizes currently available, so they must be divided (down to 1/8 for the smallest children) and given orally. This is not as easy as it might sound since the child is often having difficulty swallowing due to vomiting, lethargic, or even in a coma.

There is a serious need to provide an appropriate dosage form that can secure a safe and effective treatment for this age group (0-5 years). Something that can work immediately does not require refrigeration in a hot tropical climate, and is easy to use by families, caregivers, and health professionals, even in rural areas in Africa. Together with Hananja plc, Rephaiah has developed an easy-to-use rectal enema that contains a combination of required drugs. This product does not depend on the child being alert and able to swallow. This product will also allow the treatment to be carried out in rural areas, where access to hospital settings is limited.

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A new way of treating children with schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis (bilharzia, snail fever) is the second highest disease burden after malaria. Infants and children under the age of 6 years are currently not being included in mass drug administration campaigns against schistosomiasis. According to the WHO, the reason is due to the lack of a suitable pediatric formulation of the drug, praziquantel, for these age groups. Many areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have a high prevalence of schistosomiasis in young children, especially in the areas where there is a lake, slow-flowing rivers, and rice fields. When children do not receive treatment, the disease will cause impaired cognitive and memory development and growth, and they become a high burden to society. Additionally, studies have shown that people (girls) infected with bilharzia are four times more likely to become infected with HIV. Therefore, reports suggest that if HIV is to be eliminated, we need to start fighting and eradicating schistosomiasis.

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