Though preventable and treatable, malaria remains one of the world's biggest killers, claiming 1 million lives each year. Nine out of 10 of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa — and the majority are children.
Hans Rietveld, director of marketing for Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis' malaria initiative, said that until now, mothers were forced to crush the anti-malarial pill and mix it with sugar in order to trick children into swallowing it. Even under a cloak of sugar, the pill still tastes bitter, causing many children, especially infants, to spit it out.
Partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the children's version of Coartem is being launched in several African countries. It is being provided to participating governments for a subsidized price of 30 cents per treatment course per child — a cost that is more affordable for a majority of Africans.