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ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

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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News News from the international media

Cherry-Flavored  Malaria
Drug Launched  for Kids
Sweet version of malaria drug arrives  in Africa  intended  for kids

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI Associated
Press Writer, DAKAR, Senegal February 20, 2009 (AP)

 
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is  launching  a  new  cherry-flavored malaria drug that it says children will beless likely to spit out. The child-friendly version  of  its  Coartem  malaria  pill dissolves in water, as well as breast milk and  tastes  like  fruit  juice.

"If our children accept this new form (of the  malaria  drug)  then  it  will  mark  a major  step  forward,"  said  Senegalese Health Minister, Safiatou Thiam Sy.

Although  malaria  is  preventable  and treatable, it remains one of the world's biggest  killers,  claiming  1 million  lives each  year .  Nine  out  of  10  deaths occurring  in  sub-Saharan  Africa  result from malaria - the majority are children.

The  World  Health  Organizat ion estimates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria  in Africa.
Hans Rietveld, director of marketing for Hans Rietveld, director of marketing for Basel,  Switzerland-based  Novartis' malaria  initiative,  said  that  until  now, mothers were forced to crush the anti-malarial  pill  and  mix  it  with  sugar  in order to trick children  into swallowing  it.

Even under a cloak of sugar, the pill still tastes  bitter,  making  many  children, especially  infants,  to spit  it out.

Partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the children's version of Coartem is being launched in several African countries,  including Senegal.  It  is being  provided  to  participating governments for a subsidized price of 30 cents per treatment course per child   a cost  that  Safiatou  Thiam  Sy  says  is affordable  for a majority of Africans.

Wrong  drugs  pull  back malaria war
Gatonye Gathura & Sammy Cheboi | 30  Jun 2009 | Daily Nation

The  Kenyan  government  is  concerned about  the  continued  use  of  wrong malaria drugs  in  the market,  including  its own health  facilities.

Only a  third of people  seeking malaria treatment are getting the  recommended medicine and some are even  being  treated  with  chloroquine, which was phased out almost 10 years ago.

The  first  ever  comprehensive  malaria study in Kenya, the 2007 Kenya Malaria Indicator  Survey  (KMIS),  which  was launched on Tuesday, revealed that only 29  per  cent  of  patients  received  the recommended Artemesinin  Combination Therapy  (ACT).

Aside  from  chloroquine,  patients  are being  treated with  less  effective,  non-recommen ded drugs called   Sulphadoxine Pyrethamine or Sps.

"It  is unfortunate that these medicines are  in high circulation  in the drug chain," said Dr Elizabeth Juma, the head of the Division  for  Malaria  Control  in  the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.

More  alarming  were  findings  that prescription only medicines were being sold over the counter . The report urged the  Pharmacy  and  Poisons  Board  to strictly enforce  laws on medicines.

The  document  intended  to  guide government policy, makes some radical proposals  in  the  management  of malaria.

In  the  past,  patients  in  endemic  areas showing  fever  symptoms  have  been assumed  to  be  suffering  from malaria and  consequently  treated  for  the disease.

Now,  the  report  recommends  that  all children  below  five  years,  who  visit health  facilities with a  fever, be  tested and  treated according  to  the  results.  This is bound to raise debate given that most  health  clinics  do  not  have  the facilities  and  equipment  to  undertake such  tests.

Drastic change
"For  a  long  time,  fever  has  been confused  for  malaria.  The  medical raternity must  lead by using evidence  to administer  treatment  and  overcome parasite  resistance,"  said  Dr  Willis Akhwale,  head  of  Department  of Disease Prevention and Control.

The  report,  launched  by  the  director-general  of  Kenya  National  Bureau  of Malaria,   DDT, and desperation  in Uganda Statistics, Dr Anthony Kilele, at a Nairobi hotel,  further  recommends  a  drastic change  in  the provision of bed nets.

While  the  current  policy  is  to  provide nets  to  vulnerable  groups,  including children  and  pregnant  women,  the report  recommends  that  this  be changed  to universal coverage.

In  line with  this strategy, which should be  achieved  by  next  year,  every household should have at least two bed nets.

Ma l a r i a ,   D D T,   a n d  desperation  in Uganda
Published on Saturday, June 27, 2009 by The Boston Globe
By Derrick Z.  Jackson

WITH MALARIA sapping so much  life and potential,  Uganda  has  been  driven  to spray  the  interior  of  homes with DDT.

The  insecticide,  made  infamous  by Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring,'' has  long been  banned  in  the  United  States  for wildlife  devastation;  among  other consequences,  it made bald eagles' eggs too thin for their young to survive. But malaria here  in Uganda  is so  intense, top officials  have  answered  local  and international  DDT  critics  by  saying,  as Uganda's  Vice  President  Gi lbert Bukenya put  it, "You can start with my house.  Those  shouting  against  it  are shouting ignorance. They are simply not informed.'’

DDT makes me  shudder . But  the  issue arouses  great  passion  in  sub-Saharan Africa, where access to the best drugs is  woeful,  and  where  simple  home protections,  such  as  window  screens, are  lacking.

Uganda, a nation of 30 million people, had an estimated 10.6 million cases of malaria in 2006, according to the World Health  Organization,  with  70,000  to 110,000  deaths  a  year,  according  to government and university researchers. The  disease  ser iously  hampers economic development.

At  ground  zero  of  malaria  control, Abwang  Bernard  is  so  persuasive;  he might get permission to spray from even Carson herself. Bernard directs malaria control in the Mbarara region. With his 6-year old son sitting by him during a 90-minute  interview,  there was  no  doubt that taking care of villagers was his chief concern.

"Why do we sit around  looking  for the impact on  things we  cannot  see when we have  the problem we can see right now?'' Bernard  said.  "We have 5-year-old  children  dying. Many  people  have four  episodes  of malaria  a  year .  They miss  weeks  and  weeks  of  work.  They cannot  feed  their  families.  Why  not protect  them  for  their  future?

"I  understand  the  environmental arguments, but  sometimes  they cry  so much  fear,  their  arguments  become inhuman to the people.  It's almost  like they want the people to perish  for the animals.  No  chemical  has  any  side effects.  But  let  us  first  reduce  infant mortality. That is the environment I care about  right now.'’

The government this month announced a  goal of having  an  insecticide-treated mosquito  bed  net  in  85  percent  of households and spraying the interior of all  homes  in  the  most  hard-hit  of districts.

According to UNICEF, just 10 percent of 5-year-olds  live  in  a  house  with  an insecticide-treated net. Bernard praised the goal but was highly skeptical that it would work.

"It  is part of  the strategy but only a part,'' Bernard said. "Nets work when you use them  right, but  let's be practical here.

Only so many people can get under one net, and in lots of houses, the net goes to the head of the household. So if you have  only  one  net,  it  goes  to  you, Derrick. Your kids are still getting bit by the mosquitoes.'’

Bernard said many  families do not use nets because  they  feel claustrophobic or they  stifle  ventilation.  The  Harvard University disease  researchers whom  I accompanied  here  were  told  that frustrated  families  turn  their nets  into fishing  nets,  volleyball  nets,  and  even wedding dresses. "Before people really start  using  nets,''  Bernard  said, 

"The government  is  first  going  to  have  to demystify  them.'’ Bernard  was  also  skeptical  of  new national  goals  for  nets  and  malaria-fighting  drugs  because  the  economic downturn months ago slashed his home spraying schedule. He is the sprayer, but the  families  have  to  purchase  the insecticide.  The  government  says  the poor  may  spend  up  to  34  percent  of household  income  on  malaria treatment.

"A  year  ago  last  quarter  I  sprayed indoors  in  50  homes,''  Bernard  said. "This  past  quarter,  I  sprayed  five.  In 2001,  we  had  a  big  international donation and we sprayed 50 homes in a day. If we could spray the homes to get malaria under control, then maybe the nets  and  drugs  will  help.  If  the environmentalists want to help us, they need  to  come  here  to  see  the  total picture.'’

 

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