The National, Wednesday 04th September 2012
By SALLY TIWARI
MALARIA diagnosis in the Papua New Guinea must change from clinical to parasitical, an expert says.
World Health Organisation technical officer Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe said PNG must use the T3 method or test, treat and track initiative.
“Nowhere in the world should people be treated without diagnosing parasitically,” Abeyasinghe said.
He said nearly 90% of patients in the country visiting outpatient clinics today were prescribed anti-malaria drugs on suspicion rather than through tests.
Abeyasinghe said clinics treated patients on suspicion because there was no proper equipment such as microscopes to diagnose parasitically through blood tests.
He highlighted a case in the New Guinea Islands where 10 people were suspected of having malaria but only three tested positive.
He said clinics were using anti-malaria drugs unnecessarily.
“Unless the patient is critically ill with symptoms of malaria then it is justified. Otherwise it’s not,” he said.
He said with microscopic or parasitical treatment the country would see a decline in the parasites.
Abeyasinghe called on hospitals to stick to the malaria treatment guidelines.
He said that was particularly the case for Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, Morobe, and Mt Hagen Provincial Hospital, Western Highlands, as records had shown there were many arthamether injections given to patients.
He said if they did not adhere to treatment rules, it would result in drug resistance.
He said it was important for patients to complete treatment of Mala 1 or athamether lumefantrine.
He said the athamether was a highly sensitive drug that reacted quickly to malaria parasites but if few parasites survived they were taken out by the lumefantrine drug.