29 Apr 2009

Vanuatu govt to disburse anti-malaria drugs within half a year

9:26 pm on 29 April 2009

The Vanuatu Government's National Malaria Control Programme is expected to distribute a new anti-malarial treatment within the next six months.

The treatment has been successfully adopted in sub Sahara African countries and parts of Asia since 2001.

It will be given free to all affected residents of Vanuatu with funding from the World Health Organisation and AusAid.

Dr Lasse Vestergaard, a malaria scientist from the WHO says it has been proven to be successful in combatting the parasite and stopping the spread of the disease.

"This new drug is actually a combination of two new anti-malarial drugs. It's called Coartem as the brand name. But it consists of one drug called Artemether and another one called Iumefantrine. And so both new drugs are new to the parasite and therefore parasites are not resistant to any of these drugs."

Dr Lass Vestergaard says the introduction of the drug is part of a wider Government initiative to eliminate malaria in Tafea province by 2014 and greatly reducing the disease in the nation.