Step up in malaria fight

National, Normal


THE Health Department is set to step up its fight against malaria next year by getting everyone tested, treated and monitored properly
“We will be rolling out our big programme for malaria next year where we hope everybody will have access to malaria tests before putting them on the right kind of treatment,” the department’s principal adviser to malaria and vector-borne diseases Dr Leo Makita said.
Dr Makita said a total of 1.9 million people visited health facilities in Papua New Guinea every year to be treated for malaria and suspected malaria cases.
“PNG has about 700 malaria-related deaths every year, according to health information systems (HIS) which collects and records data from facilities around the country, but nobody knows what it is like in reality,” Dr Makita said.
He said children made up for half of the deaths each year since they were more vulnerable to malaria.
These reports, Dr Makita said, were from public health facilities obtained through HIS.
They do not include patients treated at private health centres.
New testing sites for malaria would be established under the programme whereby treatment would be required for people who tested positive for malaria.
“It is important that proper treatment is given to a patient. We will run tests on everybody to make sure they get the correct treatment.”
Dr Makita said they, in line with the Rotary Against Malaria, had already established a call-in centre at Badili, in the National Capital District, where people could go and get tested for malaria.