Georgetown Center for Innovation in Global Health statement on the Government of Malawi launching new initiative to accelerate an end to Malawi’s HIV epidemic

Posted in CIGH In the News

The Georgetown Center for Innovation in Global Health is proud to partner with the Government of Malawi, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) launching long-acting Injectable PrEP PathToScale Initiative in Malawi. Led by the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Commission, and the Blantyre and Lilongwe District and City Councils, with support from the Georgetown Center for Innovation in Global Health, this new three-year, $15.3 million public private partnership will bring long-acting injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to Malawi.

Under the PathToScale Initiative, funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support market access efforts including introduction planning, market segmentation, financing, supply chain, and large-scale implementation science studies. It will bring CAB-LA drug supplies provided by PEPFAR to 10,000 people across diverse populations in 36 sites in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Unlike oral PrEP, which has been available for over a decade and is taken as a daily pill, ViiV Healthcare’s injectable PrEP drug, long-acting Cabotegravir (CAB-LA) is administered as an injection every two months. Clinical trials have shown that injectable PrEP is highly effective and safe in preventing HIV, with a 79% reduction in risk and a lower rate of drug resistance than daily oral PrEP. Since injectable PrEP is more long-lasting and discreet, it is designed to address many ongoing challenges to service delivery including reducing the burden and side effects of daily medications and persistent stigma in communities across the world. 

This collaboration builds on Malawi’s historic progress in fighting the HIV epidemic, while lowering the barriers to access for effective healthcare and accelerating the country’s progress towards ending the HIV epidemic across the country. The PathToScale Initiative will integrate with and expand Malawi’s successful Blantyre Prevention Strategy, known as BPS, launched in 2020 in collaboration with the Georgetown Center for Innovation in Global Health. BPS has developed innovative health systems approaches to HIV prevention and elevated district-led leadership. Key BPS program elements will be adapted and co-developed in Lilongwe to support the initiative.

Other critical collaborators for this effort include the Pakachere Institute for Health and Development, Lighthouse Trust, Centre for the Development of People, UNC Project Malawi, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Cooper/Smith, Population Services International, Family Health Services, UCSF Healthqual, Partners in Hope, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and among others.