Saturday, 29 August 2009

Kenya launches malaria campaign; PBS' newshour airs segment on drug-resistance in Cambodia

28. August 2009

Kenya on Thursday launched a national malaria campaign to encourage Kenyans to sleep under insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) every night to prevent infection, the Daily Nation reports.

Elizabeth Juma, head of Kenya's Division of Malaria Control, said, "Though mosquito net ownership has increased, their actual use remains relatively low." According to the Daily Nation, "recent statistics reveal that only 48 percent of Kenyans slept under nets every night compared to 56 percent who owned them."

Assistant Minister for Public Health James Gesami said that about 18 million ITNs had been distributed, which led to a 44 percent decline in malaria mortality cases of children younger than age of five. The campaign is sponsored by Population Services International in collaboration with the government, the WHO and other medical research organizations (Wanja, 8/27).

Also, PBS' the NewsHour recently aired a segment examining the emergence of drug-resistant malaria in Cambodia. According to the NewsHour, counterfeit drugs and incomplete drug regimens have contributed to the problem. "Taking less than a full dose means some parasites remain in the body, where they adapt genetically and become immune to the drug," NewsHour special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro said.

During the show, de Sam Lazaro interviews Mark Fukuda of the U.S. Army, who co-authored a study about drug-resistance in Cambodia. The show also examines how drug-resistant malaria parasites can spread to other regions and discusses Cambodia's efforts to crack down on the distribution of counterfeit drugs. It includes an interview with Michael O'Leary, head of the WHO's Cambodia office (de Sam Lazaro, 8/25).

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