21 April 2017

Africa: China Out to Tackle Malaria

Photo: The New Times
A mother and her child sleep under a mosquito net. This is one of the methods to fight against malaria (file photo).

Guangzhou — China says its recently adopted strategy of treating malaria will most certainly wipe the disease off the face of the earth, especially in the African countries which are mostly affected by the pandemic.

A group of Guangzhou based researchers insist that shifting focus to eradication of malaria parasites in the human body as opposed to prevention of mosquito bites remains the only practical option to guarantee a disease free society.

The researchers from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine are indeed optimistic that stoping malaria parasites from reproducing and multiplying in human body cells will deal a massive blow to their very existence.

A researcher from this university, Dr Changsheng Deng, said this in a press conference with the members of the media from African countries about Fast Elimination of Malaria by source eradication (FEMSE) through Mass Drug Administration (MDA) with Artemisininbased Combination Therapies (ACTs).

Dr Deng said the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved the use of this medicine two years ago, so they want to eliminate malaria in 10 years. "Our strategy seeks to eliminate blood borne malaria parasites from the human body.

Without a doubt, it is the human body cells which gives shelter to the parasite." Dr Deng says the Chinese model of eliminating parasites reservoirs in human body cells is the most suitable.

"We are willing to cooperate with African countries on technical issues, but medical cooperation between China and Africa is done through government, if we are approached we are willing to cooperate," he said.

Dr Deng said it has been tried in malaria endemic countries such as Cambodia, the Comoros, Vietnam and even China with great success by 98 per cent. "We have enhanced artemisinin with Piperaquine. The resultant is Artequick.

This drug acts rapidly in different parts of blood-borne parasites life cycle. It is more effective than any other malaria medicine. So far there is no recorded resistance to this medicine," he said. Changsheng and his team of researchers said this is a chance to reduce malaria burden in the African continent, which according to the WHO, suffers most.

"Sub-Sahara Africa carries a disproportionately high share of global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89 per cent of malaria cases and 91 per cent of malaria deaths," he said.

The team says the pilot projects especially in the Comoros bore great success if results from a high epidemic area to a low epidemic area without malaria death in a short period are anything to go by.

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