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13.06.2007 General News

'Artesunate medicine is best for malaria’


The National Anti-Malaria Drug Policy on Artesunate-Amodiaquine as the first line of treatment for malaria is in the best interest of the nation considering cost of treatment and potency.

“The anti-malaria drug policy is an ongoing process and dynamic for the country to change its policy on the use of chloroquine as a first line of treatment of malaria to develop resistance.”

Dr Samuel Abudey, Jasikan District Director of Health Services, made this known at a two-day sensitisation workshop for media practitioners in the Volta Region on the new drug policy.

It was organised by the Volta Regional Directorate of Health Services in collaboration with the Global Fund for Malaria Control.

Dr Abudey debunked the notion that the drug was imposed on the Ghana Health Service by the World Health Organisation and blamed private drug manufacturers for creating panic during the diagnosis of the drug's potency.

Dr Abudey observed that monitoring and evaluation of the national drug policy had been painstakingly followed to be integrated into the policies and programmes of government.

Dr Atsu Seake-Kwawu, Director of Health Services, Keta, noted that pregnant women were at a higher risk of malaria and interaction between HIV/AIDS and pregnancy reduced a woman's resistance to malaria and also caused malaria treatment to be less effective.

“Malaria in pregnancy can be a very serious illness resulting in sudden deterioration of health of pregnant women, hence the need for early aggressive treatment and prevention,” he said.

Dr Seake-Kwawu advised pregnant women to use insecticide treated nets, intermittent preventive treatment, case management of malaria illness using malafan, which was free, and adhering to the safe motherhood programme initiated by the Ghana Health Service.

He appealed to the Food and Drugs Board to stop the pharmaceutical companies from the manufacturing and sale of chloroquine for malaria treatment in the country and adhere to the accepted drug, Artesunate Amodiaquine which was a combining drug.

He explained that “intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy is based on the assumption that every pregnant woman living in areas of high malaria transmission has malaria parasites in her blood whether or not she has symptoms of malaria”.

Mr Dennis Gbeddey, Regional Nutrition Officer, said on the average, 7,500 malaria cases were reported daily, 40,000 deaths due to malaria are recorded daily, 45 children under-five years die from malaria every day and seven pregnant women die everyday from malaria.

Source: The Ghanaian Times