After the initial sore heals, the second stage is characterized by a rash. Then, there are no symptoms until the final stage, which may occur years later. This final stage can result in damage to the brain, nerves, eyes or heart. Syphilis is curable with a single dose of penicillin, formulated for this purpose as long-acting Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG).The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year, 930 000 pregnant women have probable active syphilis (transmissible during pregnancy) which results in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes (including organ deformities and prematurity) annually.
Tragically, neonatal death and still birth account for more than half of those adverse birth outcomes.BPG is the only recommended treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. A single dose of low-cost BPG ends syphilis inactivity in adults with no documented risk of antibiotic resistance.
In 2015, however, anecdotal reports began to reach WHO, indicating country-level shortages of BPG. In response to these reports, 114 countries and territories were approached to help determine the scale of the problem during the time period 2014-2016 and to describe factors contributing to the shortages.The study was carried out by HRP the Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction in WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). It used a combination of data collection methods to collect data globally from a range of low-, middle- and high-income countries. (UNI)