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Adopt Programme

Praziquantel is the drug of choice to treat schistosomiasis, but it is unsuitable for the treatment of pre-school aged children (under 5 years of age) due to its size and bitter taste. This leads to an estimated 50 million children currently going untreated.

Addressing the medical needs of preschool-aged children


Countries: Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda

Implementing partners: Astellas, AIHD, Farmanguinhos, KEMRI University, Lygature, Merck,  Ministries of Health (CIV, Kenya & Uganda), Makerere University, Swiss TPH, TUM, UFHB and Unlimit Health

Funders: EDCTP is a public-public partnership between countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, supported by the European Union.

GHIT Fund is an international public-private partnership between the Government of Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), seven Japanese pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies (Astellas, Chugai, Eisai, Daiichi Sankyo, Shionogi, Sysmex and Takeda), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and United Nations Development Programme.

Project value: €5.7 million from EDCTP and €2.1 million from GHIT Fund.

Timescale: 2021-2025 (EDCTP), 2021-2022 (GHIT Fund)

Praziquantel is the drug of choice to treat schistosomiasis, but it is unsuitable for the treatment of pre-school aged children (under 5 years of age) due to its size and bitter taste. This leads to an estimated 50 million children currently going untreated.

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium (PPC) was founded in 2012 as the first international not-for-profit partnership that aims to reduce the global disease burden of schistosomiasis by addressing the medical need of infected preschool-aged children.

It aims to develop, register and provide access to a new orally dispersible formulation of praziquantel suitable for children aged 3 months to 5 years of age. The new formulation is small, has an acceptable taste and can withstand the challenges presented by warm weather, thus enabling access by children currently not receiving treatment.

The Consortium is divided into two core teams:

  • The Development Team led by pharmaceutical company Merck focusing on the research and development, regulatory and manufacturing.
  • The Access Team led by Unlimit Health and Swiss TPH focusing on ensuring access and delivery of the new pediatric formulation in endemic countries.

The Consortium partners have been awarded two implementation research grants by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT). The implementation research program aims to introduce the new pediatric formulation that will be crucial to getting treatments to those in need.

ADOPT programme objectives

  • Prepare the introduction of the new pediatric formulation into endemic communities: This effort is based on the engagement of key partners, and includes a set of strategic studies on feasibility and cost-effectiveness to ensure equitable access to treatment in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda.
  • Work with key partners and engage relevant stakeholders: This will contribute to the revision of related policies and guidelines for schistosomiasis treatments and ensure pre-school aged children are included. The Consortium aims for the formulation to be available for launch in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda by end of 2023, to further help move towards elimination of schistosomiasis worldwide.
  • Sustainable impact on people’s health in low- and middle-income countries: With the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda in mind, the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium is a prime example of a multi-stakeholder partnership bringing together governments, the public & private sectors and civil society (SDG17) that aims to ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being to all ages (SDG3).