The decline in infant and child mortality has been slowing since 2015, yet there is a dearth of research into new life-saving tools targeting children. This is partly due to the difficulty of conducting studies including the youngest age groups.
Children cannot swallow pills or capsules, often cannot tolerate the taste of liquid medications, and metabolize medications differently as they develop and grow. Infant medicines should be palatable, crumbly, crushable, dispersible (ie, rapidly disintegrating in water), chewable, sprinkled on food, or mixed with breast milk. Appropriate medicines to save and improve the lives of infants and children are often non-existent, unavailable or of poor quality, especially in low-resource settings.
Even with significant progress in child health, with 6 million fewer children under 5 dying in 2016 than in 1990, urgent action is needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3, a good for health and good health. – being and the associated goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.
Partners in the GAP-f network work together to remove barriers to the development and supply of appropriate, quality, accessible and affordable medicines for children and promote UHC. GAP-f works by fostering collaboration among stakeholders to identify gaps, prioritize needs, and accelerate research, development, and delivery of products to improve and save children’s lives.
Below are the main GAP-f activities and documents published on World Children’s Day:
Exploring innovative approaches to faster access to pediatric medicines for antimicrobial resistance
Our final 2023 webinar in the GAP-f #BetterMeds4Kids webinar series focuses on exploring innovative approaches to faster access to anti-microbial resistance (AMR) pediatric medicines. The webinar will be held on November 20, 2023 at 1400 CET. For more information, click here.
Cefiderocol product summary
Despite tremendous progress, preventable and treatable infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death for children under 5 years of age. Bacterial infections, particularly pneumonia, neonatal sepsis and gastrointestinal infections, are the leading cause of infectious mortality in this age group worldwide. This problem is exacerbated by the global increase in antimicrobial resistance.
WHO conducted an exercise to develop a Pediatric Drug Optimization (PADO) Priority List of Antibiotics, which includes all products that have approved indications for children but lack age-appropriate formulations.
Of those on the list, the most current work to date focuses on cefiderocol, the subject of a new product brief documenting clinical trial status, regulatory approval, and research priorities to advance further efforts to make it available to children. .
Priority drugs for neglected tropical diseases
Due to limited financial incentives, few new drugs are being developed for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Several NTDs disproportionately affect children versus adults. As with most diseases affecting adults and children, the burden in children is compounded by their lack of inclusion in clinical trials, as well as the lack of age-appropriate dosages and formulations.
To help with these challenges, WHO has developed a PADO priority list for schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, scabies, onchocerciasis and visceral leishmaniasis.
An analysis of the pediatric cancer research and development pipeline
Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death in children worldwide, accounting for more than 100,000 deaths annually. Despite major advances in cancer research and development (R&D), few clinical trials have addressed the impact of investigational medicine on tumor biology in children, particularly those living in low- and middle-income countries.
To map gaps and barriers, WHO has developed a summary of the childhood cancer research and development landscape that shows where more investment is needed, using data from the WHO Global Observatory for Health Research and Development (GOHRD).
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