THE Health Department has introduced a new treatment regime to overcome drug resistance problem in fighting malaria.
Health secretary Dr Clement Malau announced last week that anti-malarial drugs like Chloroquin and Fansidar were not effective anymore and would be phased out under the new malaria treatment policy while more effective treatment combining other drugs with Artemeter and Co-Atem would be introduced to see positive outcomes in treatment.
“Studies and research from abroad and in PNG have found that Chloroquin and Fansidar were not effective (anymore) to treat Malaria-the germs have somehow become resistant towards the drugs,” Dr Malau said.
He said because of this, the Health Department had introduced two types of treatment that could be used if the malaria parasite became resistant to the other drugs.
The treatment was a combination of Artemeter and Co-Atem with other drugs.
“This kind of treatment has been clinically proven to be effective and has been given a green light by WHO for use in the country,” deputy secretary for national health services Dr Goa Tau said.
Dr Tau said Chloroquin and Fansidar were initially used to treat uncomplicated (less severe) malaria and that switch of treatment using more new Artemeter combination and Co-Atem was required if the malaria parasite became resistant to the drugs.
Dr Malau said it was important that the people understood the new treatment and how it worked.
“It is also important that everybody understand that resistance to drugs can be developed when person taking medicine has not completed or is not faithful to his treatment,” he said.