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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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  • Volume 1

Intensify search for MALARIA VACCINE

By James Addy, Ghana

MAAME  Esi,  17,  a  single  mother  with  her baby strapped behind her back moves from one pharmaceutical shop to another at the  Okaishie Drug Lane in Accra in search of  malaria treatment for herself and also the six-month-old baby.

She  has  only  $3  for  a  malaria  drug  that  is  the highest  price  many  people  pay  for  such  drugs, which  is  just  a  monotherapy  course  of antesunate    its  counterpart  the  ammodiaquin tablets  certified  by  health  researchers  as  the most effective combination for the treatment of malaria.

Owners of the pharmacy shops within the drug lane have resorted to stocking and selling more of the monotherapy malaria drugs which is cheaper and  meets  the  pockets  of  many  people.  The combination  therapy  of  ammodiaquin  and antesenate sells at $9.

Studies have established that patients who took monotherapy  drugs  complained  that  they  felt unwell  even  after  completing  the  course  of treatment.

Dr  Alex  Dodoo,  the  President  of  the  Ghana Pharmaceutical  Association,  acknowledges  the relative expensive cost of malaria treatment, to some in the cities but maintains that the situation does not relate to only people in   Accra, but is widespread, extending to rural districts.

Dr Dodoo said the administration of a single drug therapy  instead  of  the  combination  therapy  of antesunate ammodiaquin often led to ineffective cure or drug resistance.

He  hoped  that  through  the  WHO,  the manufacturers could be persuaded to reduce the cost of the  malaria drugs.

Could the discovery of a malaria vaccine resolve these challenges permanently?

Malaria, the researchers say, kills over one million children every year and 90 per cent of the malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.

Ghana’s    Ministers  of  Health,  Major  Courage Quarshigah says the country spends about 770 million a year in the management of malaria.

Even though, the cost of malaria drugs could be cheaper than hypertensive drugs, many people in Ghana  cannot  afford  the  $9  cost  of  the combination therapy.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is seeking ways to make such drugs available, but it faces its own challenges of availability at service points.

Part  of  the  solution  to  this  problem  is  for governments in Africa to channel more resources to malaria control and management.

 Dr Constance Bart-Plange, Programme Manager of Ghana’s National Malaria Control Programme, told journalists in June this year that, about 99 per  cent  of  resources  for  malaria  control  are derived from donors.

Again,  the  one  per  cent  of  the  budgetary allocation  from  the  District  Assembly  Common Fund  meant  for  malaria  control  had  also  been reduced to point five (0.5) per cent and does not augur  well  for  the  sustainability  of  the programme.

Happily,  Dr  Daniel  Ansong  of  the  Kwame Nkrumah  University  of  Science  and  Technology School  of  Medical  Sciences  is  confident  that Africa  is  at  the  verge  of  discovering  safe  and effective malaria vaccine which has the potential to save thousands of lives.

He  was  speaking  at  a  forum  organised  by  the Africa  Media  and  Malaria  Research  Network (AMMREN) in collaboration with Malaria Clinical Trials  Alliance  and  Malaria  Consortium  of Mozambique as part of Malaria Day which fell on April 25 this year. His topic was:  “The Search for Malaria Vaccine, Where Are We Now?”

“We are closer than ever before to having safe and  effective  malaria  vaccine  that  will  make  a positive impact on the economy and the capacity of  our  health  system”,  Dr  Ansong  said.  “The search  of  vaccine  in  Ghana  and  other  African countries is progressing well.”

Currently,  the  vaccine  is  being  tried  in  Ghana, Tanzania,  Kenya,  Malawi,  Gabon,  Burkina  Faso and Mozambique.

The  trial  started  in  Ghana  in  2006  by  the Kintampo  Health  Research  Network  and  the Kumasi  Centre  for  Collaborative  Research  is expected to enter the third phase this year.

The  malaria  vaccine,  it  is  hoped  would    help  a great  deal  in  helping  to  combat  malaria.  Other measures such as the use of insecticide treated nets  even  though  had  proved  effective  are  not widely patronised by many as expected.

Again,  the  Food  and  Drugs  Board  have  found some  brands  of  mosquito  coils  on  the  market which some ignorantly buy to be sub-standard.

Efforts  by  developed  countries  and  private institutions  such  the  Bill  and  Melinda  Gates Foundation  towards  malaria  research  and  the development  of  malaria  vaccine  are  worthy  of commendation.

Malaria  vaccine  certainly  holds  key  to  the effective  prevention  of  the  disease  which  had sent many to untimely deaths and also ease great financial burden on families.

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