29 Apr 2010

WHO pushes new tests to fight malaria

5:41 pm on 29 April 2010

The WHO is using World Malaria Day to encourage the use of both new diagnostic tests and improved medication to target the disease which has become resistant to traditional treatment.

In Papua New Guinea there were 1.6 million reported cases of malaria in 2008 and the government is hoping to introduce the latest tests and drugs to all provinces by September this year.

The Deputy Dean of Health Sciences at the Divine Word University in Madang, Kichawen Chakumai, says good training is vital to combatting the deadly public health disease.

"What is important in the training is the change of drugs and the dosage and the other important aspect is doing the rapid diagnostic test. We are shifting from suspecting clinical cases to confirming cases before you give treatment. So that's the new change in the drug treatment protocol."

Mr Chakumai says a simple blood sample will identify malaria in 15 minutes without the need for microscopes and preventing over-treatment of fever from other causes.