November 14, 2023 – IPM South Africa NPC, an affiliate of the Population Council, has been issued a 15-month Transition to Scale Phase 2 award from Grand Challenges Canada to support the market introduction of the dapivirine vaginal ring (DapiRing™) for women in Southern and East Africa.
The DapiRing is a user-controlled vaginal ring that reduces the risk of HIV infection in women during vaginal sex. The ring is made of flexible silicone and can be self-inserted into the vagina for 1 month. In 2020, the DapiRing was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency for use among women aged 18 years or older. In 2021, the DapiRing was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) via inclusion in WHO’s HIV guidelines. The DapiRing has received regulatory approvals in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, and Kenya, and is available through national import licenses in Eswatini and Lesotho. As of September 2023, over 113,000 rings have been sold.
The funding from Grand Challenges Canada will support the continued market introduction of the DapiRing. With this funding, IPM South Africa will be able to gather end-user market insights in Rwanda and Botswana by hosting stakeholder education sessions engaging health care providers to refine educational tools and completing the development of end-user materials that resonate with potential users. The tools and resources generated from this award will be tailored to the countries’ local contexts and will be made available to the ministries of health, technical working groups, healthcare providers, and end-users to support choice, leading to greater awareness and uptake of prevention products. Further, the activities conducted with this funding will help build health care provider’s awareness of biomedical HIV prevention, multipurpose prevention technology products, and the competencies needed to prescribe these products.
The DapiRing is one of the key assets acquired by the Population Council from the International Partnership for Microbicides in 2022. The Population Council Center for Biomedical Research and IPM South Africa work together to support activities related to the full lifecycle of product development.
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About Grand Challenges Canada
Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas Grand Challenges Canada supports integrate science and technology, social and business innovation – known as Integrated Innovation®. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted in Toronto at the Sandra Rotman Centre at the University Health Network. Learn more at https://www.grandchallenges.ca/.
About the Population Council
The Population Council is a leading research organization dedicated to building an equitable and sustainable world that enhances the health and well-being of current and future generations. We generate ideas, produce evidence, and design solutions to improve the lives of underserved populations around the world. Learn more at www.popcouncil.org.