Regional countries have been called upon to carry out routine inspection and monitor the effectiveness of anti-malaria medication.
This follows reports that the current most effective anti-malarial drug, Artemisinin, has become resistant and ineffective in Cambodia, South East Asia.
During a meeting to review the situation of anti-malaria resistance in the region, a Malaria Advisor in the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Akpaka Kalu, stated that countries have to be vigilant to ensure that they do not face a similar situation.
“Countries should set aside funds to support surveillance and keep monitoring anti-malaria drugs. They should also undertake national consultation meetings and share malaria case management and strengthen efficacy,” Akpaka said.
Akpaka also stated that there should be a ban on counterfeit drugs and proper inspection on drugs before distribution to health facilities.
He said that Artemisinin is the only key ingredient for anti-malarial drugs, hence the need to keep it effective and protect it from counterfeiting.
The Minister of Health, Agnes Binagwaho, said that Africa reels from sub-standard drugs hence the need for combined efforts to track counterfeits.
Binagwaho also noted that Rwanda is supposed to be at its pre-elimination stages of malaria. She however stated that the country cannot achieve this if neighbouring countries fail to keep the same pace.
She added that there should be better diagnosis, correct treatment, good hygiene and protection against counterfeits in order to fight malaria.
Dr. Corine Karema, Head of Malaria Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said that the country was intensifying efforts to fight against malaria drug resistance.
“We are promoting rational use of drugs with compulsory laboratory confirmation of all malaria cases before any treatment, and continue to monitor drug resistance.
“As a result, today, 96 percent of all malaria cases in the country are lab confirmed. We are the first African country with these results,” Karema revealed.
Malaria incidence has decreased by 70 percent, morbidity by 60 percent and mortality by 54 percent.