A health care worker counsels pregnant women on the importance of preventing malaria during pregnancy in Ishelu, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Photo credit: Oluwatobiloba Akerele/MSH

Read this story on USAID's websiteAn estimated 76 percent of Nigeria’s population are at risk of malaria by living in high transmission areas.  Nigeria accounts for 27 percent of malaria cases worldwide and the highest number of deaths (24 percent) due to malaria in 2019 (World Malaria Report, 2020).  The U.S. President's Malaria Initiative for States (PMI-S) activity managed by USAID recognizes that “it takes a village” to achieve a malaria-free Nigeria.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted long-standing weaknesses in the pharmaceutical systems of African countries: a shortage of manufacturing capacity, weak medicines regulatory systems, and poor accessibility of medical products. Along with gaps in African countries’ overall health systems, these problems help explain why about half of the continent’s people lack access to essential medicines and nearly 50% of children in sub-Saharan Africa die of vaccine-preventable diseases each year. The African Union has called for the continent to do more of its own manufacturing to help ensure a sustainable supply of medicines. But to make that a reality, and ensure that the medicines produced in Africa are safe and effective, four things need to be in place.

 {Photo credit: Modeste Gnitona/MSH}Louise Sambieni, a member of the Tilyikna Women’s Group.Photo credit: Modeste Gnitona/MSH

This story was originally published on USAID's websiteLouise Sambieni, a woman living in the village of Kountori, Atacora Department, Benin, was unable to afford the medicine she needed when she fell ill with malaria. “A few months ago, while I was walking to the field where I work, I started to have a headache…The headache lingered and my husband suggested that I go to see a doctor and gave me 5,000 francs for care....The drugs that the doctor prescribed not only cost more than 12,000 francs, they were also unavailable in my village and I would have had to travel to Cob