Malaria claims a life in Africa every 30 seconds
The Star - Friday April 26 2002 www.star.co.za
- Scientists meeting for an annual congress have warned
that malaria is becoming increasingly difficult to contain.
Organisation of African Unity said yesterday the mosquito-borne
disease was claiming the life of at lease one person in
Africa every 30 seconds.
malaria one of the biggest killers in sub-Saharan Africa,
the OAU said 2500 children under 5 were dying of the disease
daily in a region with 90% of the global incidence of 300
million to 500 million cases.
OAU figures were released in the Ugandan capital at an annual
gathering of medical researchers marking Malaria Day in
pan-African organisation agreed with research conducted
by the UN World Health Organisation showing that the
becoming hard to contain,scientists
victims of the disease remained women and children living
it warned, was starting to show its face in areas from where
it was previously thought eliminated, mainly because of
poor surveillance and the growing resistance of malaria
to modern medicines, especially the cheaper anti-malarial,
patients in sub-Saharan African cannot afford new drugs
because they are too expensive," said Professor David Bradley,
chairman of a special workshop on malaria at the five-day
annual African Health Science Congress.
has indicated that in most countries, 70% of primary school
children have malaria parasites in their blood," Bradley
the way forward would be to introduce new drugs, but cautioned
that the disease "could also become resistant to even these
in its Roll Back Malaria campaign, is urging nations to
switch to a new type of combination therapy when they find
that conventional treatments, like chloroquine no longer
Chinese drug artemisinin was singled out at the workshop
as being among those which have handled resistance parasites
best, but it remains expensive.
recommended that nations switch as required to artemisinin-based
combination therapies (ACT), which it has added to its Essential
has worked with a variety of partners, including the manufacturers,
to reduce the prices of ACTs in developing countries," said
WHO's director-general Gro Harlem Brundtland.
important that countries which need ACTs are able to access
and use them in a sustainable manner."
Kampala workshop also noted that the use of insecticide-treated
bed nets was the most successful way of guarding against
malaria, and could lower the incidence of the disease by
workshop reported that sub-Saharan Africa would need between
R130-billion and R580-billion a year to roll back the malaria
in Kenya, meanwhile, yesterday announced the launch of clinical
tests of a trail US vaccine for malaria.
vaccine, which has already been tested for safety
trials of new vaccine are under way
US civilian and military volunteers, was developed by the
US's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in collaboration
with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.
meeting was told by the OAU that in the impoverished West
African nation of Niger, malaria remains the main killer.
Day was marked in Niger with radio and television advertisements.
event was also publicised in neighbouring Ivory Coast, Sierra
Leone, Togo and Benin.
years ago to the day, African leaders meeting in the Nigerian
capital Abuja resolved to try to cut malaria deaths in half
by the year 2010, and called on member nations to lift all
taxation on treated nets, medicines and other anti-malarials.