Artemisinin, considered the most effective antimalarial drug in Rwanda and Africa, has been ruled to be ineffective in Cambodia, South East Asia.
This was disclosed yesterday, in Kigali, during a meeting of regional countries on monitoring anti-malaria treatment.
The meeting brought together officials from all EAC member as well as Zambia, DRC and Ethiopia.
The resistance, it is aid, starts with a slightly prolonged fever and delayed parasite clearance time.
The experts anticipate coming up with a mechanism to coordinate efforts to determine drugs’ efficacy and resistance among countries.
The Country Representative of World Health Organisation, Dovlo Delanyo, said that if resistance develops in one country like it has done in Cambodia, it is very easy for it to cross borders.
“No matter how hard we are working against drug resistance, it’s so easy to have it. It’s therefore very important that there is a coordinated effort across countries in the sub-region and those that border us,” Delanyo said.
He said that they are devising measures to control the resistance in case it arises and ensure that the available treatment regimens are working.
Delanyo added that countries in the sub-region should have the right indicators for watching out and having surveillance against development of resistance.
He, however, noted that they are monitoring to ensure that the effects they are warning against do not come to Rwanda and the other countries in the region.
“In Rwanda, there is 100 percent access to treatment for everybody who needs it. There is also wide coverage of long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets for pregnant women and other vulnerable groups,” Delanyo added.
According to Dr. Corine Karema, the head of Malaria Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, malarial incidence has decreased by 70 percent while its morbidity and mortality went down by 60 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, an official from WHO Rwanda office, Dr. Julie Mugabekazi, observed that so far, Artemisinin was effective in Rwanda but warned that there was no guarantee that it would not turn out to be resistant in the future.