25th April 2010
Message from the President of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association
Malaria remains a significant health issue particularly for those of us working in African countries.
Although the overall targets for the Roll Back Malaria campaign remain challenging in many countries, there is sufficiently encouraging progress from some locations to suggest that, with similar effort, the desired outcomes can be achieved. For example Zambia has achieved the WHO aim of reducing mortality from malaria in health facilities by 50%. It actually registered a 66% reduction. This success was primarily attributed to the widespread use of insecticide treated nets, indoor spraying with insecticide and the use of ACTs as the main treatment for those identified with the disease.
While this desirable picture is not yet widespread similar outcomes are being achieved in extensive regions of other countries. Reduction of deaths and the overall number of cases in parts of East Africa have been noted. Here researchers have concluded that to be due to several factors. These include the use of nets with long lasting insecticide but, perhaps of greater interest, also to the improved education of the local population both in the general sense and in the context of understanding malaria and its consequences.
The material issued by CPA for World Malaria Day 2009 remains relevant and can be viewed at www.commonwealthpharmacy.org/cms.cgi/site/news/archive/malaria_day_2009.htm. Update on the data for individual countries relating to recommended treatments and other statistics is available on the Roll Back Malaria website. Other relevant updates include new (March 2010) WHO guidelines for treatment of malaria. For those interested in recent research publications may find a link to items on issues such as consideration of reduced sensitivity to treatment, the science of parasite reproduction and vaccine testing via the websites shown below.
Despite the global financial crisis funding for action programmes for this disease seems to be holding up. Keeping up to date with local considerations and the potential lessons to be learned from the experiences of others is pertinent in maintaining the highest standards of our professional practice.
Information on events running on or relating to World Malaria Day can be found on www.rbm.who.int