The World Health Organization’s international plea to contain artemisinin resistance is being heeded by Ghana’s government as it clamps down on fake malaria drug hawkers and increasing vigilance for first signs of the deadly disease.
Dr. Felicia Owusu-Antwi, Country Advisor on Malaria for the WHO Ghana office said that while Ghana has no documented evidence of artemisinin resistant malaria, the government and WHO are working ramping up resources to prevent and contain any future infections, reports The Ghana News Agency.
In order to prevent resistance, Dr.Owusu-Antwi said that accurate malarial testing and increased access to ACTS are vital. But equally vital is the removal of all substandard and counterfeit malarial medications on the market.
Dr. Owusu-Antwi said that in order to combat malarial resistance to artemisinin based therapies (ACT), Ghana government officials are insuring easy access to legitimate combined therapy medications.
WHO and Ghanan officials are aiming to increasing monitoring and surveillance to evaluate the threat of artemisinin resistance, while improving access to ACT treatment and distributing malarial preventives like DDT infused mosquito netting.
Dr Constance Bart-Plange, Manager of National Malaria Control Program, said that ACTS are 98% effective currently, according to a research conducted by the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute.
But she said the need for authentic and accessible ACTs is vital. “It is the best and efficacious medication we have to treat malaria. When we lose this drug we will lose our lives.”