Posted by : Posted on : 08-Mar-2020

Looking at the eradication of malaria with mass drug administration, or MDA

When Prime Minister Sogavare met with his Papua New Guinea counterpart, the Hon James Marape, last weekend in Honiara the pair talked about the need to eradicate malaria which affected both Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Malaria is a debilitating sickness that can make strong, healthy adults bedridden for weeks and its symptoms include fever, chills, shaking, muscle aches, and severe fatigue

In the Solomon Islands the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said almost all of the entire population is at high risk for malaria, with only 1% of the population living in areas free of malaria.

Given the WHO report of the malaria threat and the two PM’s concerns regarding malaria, I looked up an article I read last year in relation to a malaria eradication plan then taking place in Kenya.

The report in the Guardian told of Chinese efforts to fight malaria in Kenya and centered on a Chinese scientist, Tu You you, who had discovered an antimalarial compound, artemisiniin and how Chinese researchers were undertaking a far more tested approach.

Called mass drug administration, or MDA, it involved giving antimalarial pills to every man, woman, and child in a given area all at once. Rather than kill off the world’s mosquitoes, which spread the disease by drawing blood from infected people, the thinking was, why not simply wipe out malaria among humans?

Although the Chinese were working to eradicate malaria among Kenya’s 50 million people the aid programme was not without some criticism mainly because MDA is controversial for reasons of both science and ethics. There were concerns that it could lead to increased drug resistance, which could see malaria rise to levels not seen in decades. Others believed it unethical to give antimalarials to people who did not even have the disease—or who didn’t wish to take them—though such qualms were dismissed in Kenya and elsewhere.

If successful the ongoing effort will ease the disease’s burden on Kenya’s health system and economy.

Source:  The Guardian

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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