Sierra Leone: Pharmacy Board Makes Anti-Malaria More Accessible

Sahr Morris Jr. | 25 Jun 2009
Concord Times
The Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone-PBSL in a bid to make Anti Malaria Drugs more accessible to the vast majority of citizenry, has deregulated the sales of Atesunate (the combination therapy for Malaria treatment) which used to be a prescription drug and could now be sold over the counter and in patent drug stores all over the country.

In collaboration with the Malaria Control Programme in the country the PBSL has embarked on a nation-wide sensitization of patent medicine sellers on the sales of anti malaria therapeutic drugs, dosages and referral of acute cases to medical professionals in a bid to ensure that more lives are saved the malaria malaise deemed to be No 1 killer in the country.

On Wednesday 24th June the two sister institutions of Pharmacy Board and Malaria Control concluded the nation-wide training programme when they summoned over 100 patent drug sellers in the Western Area at the Atlantic Hall at the National Stadium Hostel to educate them on ramifications of the malaria ailment on the lives and health of the citizen, and the appendage dangers in administering the wrong drugs prescription and consumption.

Head of the Narcotic Section at the Pharmacy Board Aiah Swarray who chaired the programme expressed the importance of the training session on anti-malaria saying that "....malaria; if tackled, it could a great leap in achieving the Public Health benchmarks set by the country".

During the opening session of the workshop, Anita Mbawa of the Malaria Control Programme informed participants that 37% of morbidity in the country is caused by the incidence of malaria; adding that malaria is a primary cause of death with children and women being the most vulnerable. She told all present that the training is about informing stakeholders in the medicine world of Sierra Leone on the new treatment policy using anti malaria, the treatment dosage, why the Pharmacy Board; Malaria Control Programme and the Government of Sierra Leone have decided that Anti-Malarias must be more accessible.

Acting Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone Wiltshire CN Johnson who was also present to give a talk in the opening ceremony and to also officially open the conduct of the workshop announced that the Atesunate-Amodaquine anti-malaria combination is now an over the counter drugs for the simple reason that the government through the Pharmacy Board/Malaria Control Programme has decided to increase access to anti-malaria drugs as every 15 seconds, over a thousand children die of malaria. He informed all that the vast majority of "our people in the country do not have access to anti-malaria drugs and if they do, the correct dosage, safety and quality of the drugs are not often guaranteed" he stoutly said.

The Acting Registrar expressed his disgust and that of the Government over the high incidence of malaria which is why he emphasized "access to anti-malaria drugs has been stretched to meet the needs of the lowest members of the Sierra Leonean Public" adding that "40% of all healthcare complaints are on malaria in the country".

He admonished patent drug sellers to operate within the bounds of their licenses as medicines could kill as equally as they cure. He advised that in case of any complications, referral should be made to the appropriate medical professionals so as to ensure that lives are saved. Other anti-malaria Phancida and Quinine should not be sold by you patent store holders the Registrar strong admonished all present.