Malaria drug resistance growing

2009-09-23 20:22

kalahari.com

Hong Kong - The World Health Organisation warned on Wednesday that the parasite which causes malaria is increasingly resistant to artemisinin, the best drug around, and failure to contain this trend would bring serious consequences.

"This (Asia Pacific) region has traditionally been the focus of resistance to antimalarial drugs and now we have artemisinin resistance primarily on the Thai-Cambodian border," said John Ehrenberg, WHO regional adviser on malaria and other vector borne and parasitic diseases.

"If it is not contained, it can have global implications and the most serious one would be in Africa which has a high disease burden and the highest mortality rates," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a regional meeting of the WHO in Hong Kong.

Although malaria is preventable and treatable, there were still between 189 million to 327 million cases in 2006, resulting in between 610 000 to 1.2 million deaths.

Half the world's population is at risk, particularly the poor and those living in remote areas with limited healthcare access. A child dies from malaria every 30 seconds.

Combination therapy

Artemisinin, derived from the sweet wormwood shrub, is the best drug available but misuse and over-prescription have led to the parasite becoming resistant to it.

The best way to prolong the use of the drug would be to use it in combination with other antimalarial drugs. Nearly all the Asia Pacific region countries that suffer most from the disease pledged on Wednesday to do that.

"Experts have been calling for combined therapy to make sure this problem does not arise ... all endemic countries in the region, except one, have adopted (the plan) and we are hoping to get the 10th pretty soon," Ehrenberg said.

The 10 countries are Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Korea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Vietnam. In 2008, these 10 states reported 248 141 confirmed cases of malaria and 1,005 deaths.

Under the agreement, the use of artemisinin alone for treating malaria must be banned by 2015.

All 10 states will also help fight counterfeit antimalarial drugs, again a major cause of deaths.

In recent years, parts of Asia have been awash with fake antimalarial drugs. They contain little or no active ingredient that would fight the disease and many people have died because of that. Some of the fakes have been traced back to illegal factories in China, according to experts.

"Low quality and counterfeit drugs is a serious concern ... any inadequate way of treating malaria can lead to death. Malaria kills a lot of children especially in Africa when you don't treat it properly, it leads to death," Ehrenberg said.

"Many countries rely a lot on the private sector. Unregulated drug policy can jeopardise efforts to (drug) resistance containment. Getting the private sector onboard is critical."

Read more on:    world health organisation (who)  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.