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Malaria: Drug policy under review

Special Correspondent

Government to introduce a new combination drug


  • 125 years since the malarial parasite was discovered
  • Periodic situation analysis initiated in problem areas
  • Monitoring of insecticides and drug resistance undertaken

    NEW DELHI: The drug policy for malaria control is under review and sites are being prepared for vaccine trials in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said here on Friday.

    He was speaking at an international conference, organised jointly by the Malaria Research Centre and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme to mark the discovery of the malarial parasite 125 years ago.

    The government decided to introduce a new combination drug for chloroquine-resistant malaria in areas where the parasite was resistant to the commonly used drug.

    "The new drug combines sulfudoxine pyremethamine (SP) and artesunate and would be introduced this year," P. L. Joshi, Director of the Programme told reporters on the sidelines of the conference. Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran discovered the malarial parasite in Algeria on November 6, 1880.

    The discovery won him the Nobel Prize in 1907. More than 400 scientists from India, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Iran, Belgium, Sri Lanka and Kenya are participating in the conference. Its theme is `Laveran to Genomics' and it will deliberate on the emerging areas in malarial research.

    Transmission dynamics

    Inaugurating the conference, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi said the government's measures to combat malaria and new research strengthened the knowledge base about transmission dynamics in different eco-systems. India had to deal with inaccessibility of certain areas and poor health seeking behaviour in remote localities. To overcome frequent outbreaks, a periodic situation analysis was initiated in problem areas. Advisories on epidemic preparedness were communicated well in advance. Monitoring of insecticides and drug resistance was being done in the problem areas with the support of the Malaria Research Centre field units. Nationwide quality assurance and quality control programmes were also being evolved.

    Cost-effective measures

    As part of alternative and cost-effective vector control measures, insecticide-treated nets were being supplied free of cost in high-risk areas. The beneficiaries were below the poverty line population in rural and tribal areas. Participation by non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, local self-governments, panchayats and private partnerships was being encouraged in combating the disease.

    The Malaria Research Centre would be renamed the National Institute of Malaria.

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