By ELIZABETH MIAE
THE Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), a new treatment for malaria, will be available in Papua New Guinea in September.
ACT is a combination of two drugs, Artemether and Lumefantrine (AL), in one tablet and is recommended by the World Health Organisation for use.
AL has already been used in other countries and is said to be very effective as the malaria parasite had yet to develop resistance.
AL would not only cure malaria patients, it would also stop the spread of the parasite.
Chloroquine, which had been used for treating malaria for a long time, has become resistant to the malaria parasite.
This was revealed in a journalism training workshop on malaria in Port Moresby this week.
The workshop was organised and facilitated by the Population Services International (PSI), a non-governmental organisation that is working to address malaria in the country.
The workshop was told that the AL would be the only drug used for treating malaria patients when it is available.
AL would be taken for only three days to cure malaria. It will be given to patients according to their age and weight (example people weighing 35kg and over would take four tablets a day for
In preparation for the arrival of ACT, the Health Department will be sending health workers throughout the country to undergo training at the Divine Word University on how to use the new treatment.
The mass training will begin in the middle of this year for trainers who will then return to their respective provinces and train their counterparts on the use of ACT.
In a previous interview with the technical adviser for malaria with the Health Department, Leo Makita, he said the incorrect use of drugs and the non-compliance had been a major problem in the past.
“It is very important for all workers to be properly trained before rolling out ACT.
“The Artemether worked very fast and would help a malaria patient recover faster but did not last long in the body, the second drug Lumefantrine’ which lasts longer in the body would kill off all the remaining parasites in the blood.”