Thomson Reuters Foundation Examines Breakthrough In Combating Seasonal Malaria In West Africa

“A new way of using an old drug is proving to be a breakthrough in combating seasonal malaria in West Africa, which kills tens of thousands of children every year according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “The medical charity says seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis or SMC, a pioneering approach that uses sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (Fansidar), reduced the number of cases of simple malaria by 66 percent during trials in Mali and Chad between July and October last year,” the news service writes, noting, “The trials, which involved 160,000 children in Koutiala, southern Mali, and 10,000 children in Moissala, southern Chad, also resulted in 70 percent fewer hospital admissions and 75 percent fewer blood transfusions due to malaria.”

“‘Fansidar was widely used to treat malaria throughout the world but has been phased out and replaced by artemesinin combination therapies (ACT), partly because of the build-up of resistance,’ MSF Tropical Medicine Adviser Estrella Lasry told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone,” according to the news service, which adds, “‘Now, the new approach uses Fansidar with amodiaquine to prevent malaria in children between the ages of three months and five years by providing 12 doses over four months to maintain an adequate level of antimalarial drug in their blood during peak malaria season,’ she said” (Hussein, 9/11). The article is accompanied by a factbox outlining medical breakthroughs in the fight against malaria (Hussain, 9/11).