By ELIZABETH MIAE
HEALTH workers throughout the country will be trained on the correct use of the new malaria treatment and diagnosis this year.
The mass training will begin in February/March with the training of trainers at the Divine Word University in Madang.
The trainer will then be sent to their respective provinces to trainers all health workers.
This includes all clinical staff who prescribe treatment.
All staff in the country will be trained over a period of two months using the trainers. Training will be brought down to the health facility level.
The training and treatment roll out will be funded by the Global Fund round eight of the
The National Department of Health (NDoH) did not specify how much would be set aside for the training.
The new malaria treatment – Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) – will be introduced in June/July.
The ACT is a combination of two drugs that will make the treatment more effective.
The two drugs combined into one tablet are Artemether and Lumefantrine (AL).
“The incorrect use of drugs and the non-compliance has been a major problem in the past and also for the current treatment,” said officer in charge of malaria Leo Sora Makita.
“This is why it is very important for all workers to be trained properly before rolling out the new treatment.”
Mr Makita said the new treatment was very effective, as the malaria parasite had not yet developed resistance to it, however, he added that the treatment must be completed in order for total parasite clearance from the blood.
“If people don’t complete the treatment, there will be parasites remaining in the blood that will again cause the person to be ill,” he said.
“The treatment will make people feel much better after the first or second dose, so the tendency is that because people feel better, they keep the rest for later or give it to somebody else.
“This is very wrong.”
Mr Makita said people including health workers had the tendency to say that the treatment was not working because they had not completed it.
“We do not expect any problem with resistance because this drug has not previously been used in PNG and it is a combination of two drugs that complement each other,” he said.
The National was told that the new treatment would not only cure people with malaria but would also stop the spread of the parasite from person to person.
Artemether works very fast and makes a malaria patient better, faster, but does not last long in the body.
The second drug, Lumefantrine, which lasts longer in the body, will kill off all remaining parasites in the blood.