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Latest News South east asia malaria resistance containment efforts

NEWS: Malaria Consortium at forefront of South East Asia malaria resistance containment efforts

28 July 2009
Malaria Consortium alongside other partners is responding to the serious threat posed by newly developing resistance to the highly-effective artemisinin based drugs, the best drugs currently available to combat malaria.

In May 2009 scientists discovered that in some cases these frontline drugs have become less effective in killing off malaria parasites in patients along the Thai-Cambodian border region, provoking fears that full-blown resistance could develop and reverse progress achieved to date in malaria control in Asia and beyond.

In response, Malaria Consortium and partners including The World Heath Organization and the Cambodian and Thai malaria programmes are utilizing funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and implement a coordinated strategy to contain the spread of the resistant parasites.

The project’s strategy includes stepping up case detection efforts particularly among the mobile and migrant populations crossing the border, providing universal coverage of preventative Long Lasting Insecticidal Treated Nets, curbing the sale of resistance-promoting monotherapies, mobilising communities through advocacy efforts and updating knowledge bases.

Malaria Consortium in particular is also focused on raising awareness in the international community about the growing resistance to anti-malarials and increasing the visibility of the containment efforts. This crucial issue recently attracted the attention of the world’s media, who were given full insight into the containment project on a media trip led by the Malaria Consortium in May 2009.

BBC, AP, Lancet and Reuters journalists were amongst those taking part in a week long series of briefings, visits and interviews in Thailand and Cambodia. Participating journalists were briefed by a host of health experts as well as politicians engaged with the containment efforts. They were also taken on site visits to meet with health and NGO workers as well as beneficiaries including pregnant women recovering from malaria.

The media trip generated a range of high-profile coverage across the North and South, significantly raising awareness of the issue of artemisinin resistance and the value of containment efforts.

Some of the coverage generated can be found below:

• A six-minute PBS special that delves into the science and history of malaria drug resistance, feature an interview with Malaria Consortium's Prudence Hamade 
• An interview with Sophal Uth, Malaria Consortium Field Officer in Pailin, Cambodi, on BBC Radio 4
• A special report appeared in the Lancet medical journal’s 25 July 2009 issue entitled "Countries race to contain resistance to key antimalarial"
• A BBC article written by a participant in the media trip
An interview with Malaria Consortium’s Dr. Mallika Kaviratne on BBC’s World TV news channel and News 24 concerning resistance issues on the Thai-Cambodia border
• Dr Sovan, the provincial head of the malaria programme was interviewed by the BBC and CNN

A range of articles across the world also picked up the story,5db7c306-0c9a-4170-b8e9-722a0bdde873.html (Agencia Angola Press, Angola) (ABC News, Australia) (Phnom Pen Post, Cambodia),1518,628362,00.html (Spiegel, Germany) (Daily News & Analysis, India) (Yahoo News, India) (Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya)  (Daily Mirror, United Kingdom) (Guardian, United Kingdom) (US News, United States) (Thomson Reuters Alert Net) (United Press International) (Vatican Radio)


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