The National malaria Control Programme says reports that the new malaria drugs artesunate Amodiaquine has been withdrawn are inaccurate. Officials say only the 200grams Artesunate drug and 600grams Amodiaquine single doses mostly manufactured locally have been taken off the shelves.
The Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service withdrew the drug after a meeting on Friday. The meeting was called to discuss the side effects of the new drug policy since its introduction at the beginning of the year. But the Health authorities' announcement appears to have been misconstrued as a total withdrawal of the two drugs at the heart of the national policy.
The Principal Medical Officer in charge of the National Malaria Control Programme, Aba Baffoe-Wilmot was interviewed and this is what she had to say:-
Mrs. Baffoe-Wilmot: “We have local manufacturers who because the tablets are so many have decided to put all the four artesunate Amodiaquine which is a 50 milligram per tablet together as one tablet making up 200 milligrams and then the Amodiaquine which is 150 milligrams has also been put together as one tablet at 600, milligrams. And this is what the ministry has advised that it be withdrawn. The problem aspect is the single dose tablet that are still in use.
Host: So what is creating the problem - is it the combination of 50's into one single dose of 200 milligrams?
Mrs. Baffoe-Wilmot: Exactly, you see these two drugs are taken according to weight and therefore these tablets has been put together as 600 and 200 milligrams and if you are an adult who is under 70 kilogrammes and you are taking what is on the market, it will knock you off because it is supposed to be taken according to weight. We are training subscribers all over the country so that they go according to the rules but the policy has not been withdrawn.
Host: This is in wide circulation, how are you going to impress on people not to patronize this?
Mrs Baffoe-Wilmot: We need to intensify our education and all efforts will be made so that we get on the field to advise the public.
Host: There is a phamarco vigilance unit that has been set up for this problem, what else are they going to do?
Mrs Baffoe-Wilmot: We are working in close contact with them.