A mosquitoe feeding on its victim

ARTEMISININ-BASED Combination Therapy (ACT) is currently considered the world’s best treatment against malaria, according to scientists and researchers.

Senior Pharmacist at the Police Hospital, Ellen Sam who disclosed this at a malaria forum said the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the combination therapy because it was one of the few effective treatments against the most serious and life threatening strain plasmodium falciparum.

The forum was organized by African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) and sponsored by INDEPTH Network Effectiveness and Safety Studies of Anti-malarials in Africa (INESS).

Madam Sam entreated malaria patients to stop using monotherapies such as chloroquine or amodiaquine as malaria parasites were resistant to these drugs making them ineffective.

Artemisinin made up of two drugs, is an extract from the tree artemisia annua used in China to cure fever for more than 1000 years.

ACTs, she indicated were a major factor in the huge strides made in combating malaria.

Malaria is one of the major causes of death in the country with available statistics indicating the disease kills about 4,000 people annually.

On average, there are about 3 million reported cases of malaria yearly or 7,500 cases every day at public health facilities alone.

According to Madam Sam children under 5 years and pregnant women were most vulnerable, pointing out that 5 children below the age of five die of malaria daily whilst the disease claims the lives of 60 pregnant women annually.

Ghana is ranked 8th in Africa by number of malaria cases per 100,000.

Prof. Alex Dodoo, Director, Centre for Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Ghana Medical School and Safety Task Team of INESS called on African leaders to pay attention to malaria treatment on the continent by investing massively in the area.

He bemoaned the lackadaisical attitude of some African leaders in fighting malaria, making the control of the disease difficult.

Executive Secretary for AMMREN, Charity Binka said in spite of achievements made in the control of malaria in Ghana, there is still the need for investment support and commitment from government and donors.

In a statement to mark World Malaria Day, Ms. Binka urged organizations like the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) to treat fake drug manufacturers and their agents with the same ruthlessness employed against dealers in narcotic drugs.

By Awudu Mahama

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