National

Drugs immunity ‘may’
fail malaria fight

NEW DELHI: Resistance to the most effective anti-malarial drug, artemisinin, could unravel national malaria control programs, which have achieved significant progress in the last ten years, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday.

On World Malaria Day, which falls every April 25, WHO advocates the rational use of anti-malarial drugs and acknowledges the crucial role of community health workers in reducing malaria in the region.

In the region, 70 percent of the population is at risk of malaria. In 2009, there were an estimated 28–41 million cases and 49,000 deaths, around 94 percent are from India, Indonesia and Myanmar.

“Malaria most affects those whose living conditions are already in a precarious state, and it exacerbates poverty, especially in rural areas,” Samlee Plianbangchang, the regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Southeast Asia, said.

“Community participation is essential, especially the involvement of community health volunteers,” he added. — JP

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