Pharmaceutical Expert Hails Country's Malaria Fight

Irene Nambi | 11 Feb 2010
New Times (Kigali)
Kigali — Rwanda's malaria battle has been identified as one of the best practices that other African countries should emulate if the disease is to be eliminated in the near future.

These remarks were made by Hans Rietveld, the Director of Global Access and Marketing in Novartis, a reknown pharmaceutical company in the world.

Rietveld who is attending a two-day national malaria control workshop aimed at sharing ideas on the best ways of fighting the disease also noted that while other countries may not recognize that malaria is a number one killer of children, Rwanda has.

"The country in itself is a best practice because of its political will to acknowledge the fact that Malaria is a killer disease.

"Rwanda has also done a good job in the past years to scale up interventions in prevention through distribution of bed nets and ensuring adequate treatment of malaria cases," he said.

He therefore affirmed Novartis' continued partnership to ensure that there are no stock outs of the malaria drugs to ensure elimination of the disease once and for all.

Novartis officials also recommended the new coartem dispersible an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) that has been developed specifically for children with malaria.

"It is medication with special packaging with instructions that explain dosage. The new sweet-tasting coartem dispersible tablets also dissolve quickly in small amounts of water and are easily administered," Rietveld added.

The Head of the malaria unit in TRAC plus, Dr. Corrine Karema also noted that this workshop brings together experts in the fight against malaria and such initiatives are significant in forging better practices to manage the problem.

"Out of 10 people who die at our health facilities, 2 lose their lives to malaria. It therefore contributes 16 percent to the mortality rate especially among children under five and pregnant women.

"The ministry of health is now expanding the rapid diagnostic tests of malaria at community level as one of the new interventions so that by 2010 we can be able to test, confirm and treat cases immediately," Karema said.