KUHES and KCH collaborate to guard the quality of chemotherapy drugs in Malawi

Mr Ibrahim Chikowi, a Lecturer in the Pharmacy Department, School of Life Sciences and Allied Health (SLAHP), Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) in conjunction with Ms Hanna Kumwenda and Dr Matthew Painschab of UNC Cancer Centre at the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) have been awarded sub-grant in a new research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) whose principal investigator (PI) is Prof. Marya Lieberman of the University of Notre Dame (UND), USA.  This five year award, titled “Adapting a point of use test card, the chemoPAD, for protecting chemotherapy drug quality in sub-Saharan Africa” is supported by the National Cancer Institute and the Fogarty Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U01CA269195. The project also involves researchers at Addis Ababa University (AAU) (Ethiopia), the University of North Carolina (USA), the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Yaounde Hospital (Cameroon), and the AMPATH Research Network (Kenya). This research seeks to develop a mobile phone app and a paper device called the chemoPAD to detect falsified anticancer medicines. This will be followed by development and testing of a clinical system for using the new chemoPAD at the point of care, which will be done at the UNC cancer centre, KCH. KUHeS will be involved in the chemoPAD material engineering and will make chemoPADs for use in Malawi, while the UNC team will provide pharmaceutical samples, handling expertise and clinical application of the new chemoPAD on Malawian samples. Similar activities will be conducted in Kenya, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. At least two master’s degree students will be recruited, registered, and supported in the Pharmacy Department at KUHeS to carry out the project activities. A series of short courses and internships will also be conducted to create awareness about substandard and falsified (SF) medicines and the methods and systems for their detection.