Ineffective malaria medication too common

Over a million people die unnecessarily from malaria in Africa, according to a survey by ACTWatch. The group released a study of seven countries in Africa today, it found that most people in these countries are obtaining ineffective anti-malarials in the private market, due to the low availability and high prices of the far more successful Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). ACT costs 20 times more than the older medications to which malaria has developed resistance. At about $11 it's 65 times more than the average daily wage in many of these countries.

Malaria needs to be treated with speed, explained Dr. Desmond Chavasse, speaking from the Pan-African Malaria conference being held in Nairobi. Children must receive medication within 48 hours of displaying malarial symptoms if they are to survive. This is why ACTs must get "out through the marketplace, so they are available at the end of the supply chain, in small shops, at affordable prices."

The study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, is intended to provide baseline information for a program that will subsidize ACT medication.



Friday Photo: Happy Halloween

Squirrel monkeys at Bristol Zoo Gardens investigate a special carved pumpkin that has been left as a special Halloween treat in their enclosure on October 28, 2009 in Bristol, England. The gift of the pumpkin does have a serious side, as they are a great addition to the animals regular diet as they are high in vitamins, potassium, protein and fibre - as well as being the perfect enrichment toy, as the animals have to delve inside to reach the succulent flesh and plump seeds.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images