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MALARIA: Tanzanian Study Shows Good Results On Children
The World Health Organization Friday welcomed a Tanzanian study that
found rates of malaria and anemia are severely reduced when infants
receive an anti-malarial drug during routine immunizations.
The study, published in The Lancet, monitored 701 Tanzanian infants
who received the anti-malarial drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine with
the second and third doses of the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus
vaccine and the measles vaccine (UN Newservice, 11 May).
"We have seen a 60% reduction in clinical malaria during the first
year of life, a 50% reduction in incidences of severe anemias and a
30% reduction in hospital admissions," said Dr. Pedro Alonso of Uni-
dad de Epidemiologia hospital clinic in Barcelona, Spain. He said the
three treatments cost less than 20 cents per child (Reuters/News24,
The WHO, the UN Development Program and the World Bank funded the re-
search as part of the WHO's Roll Back Malaria initiative, which aims
to halve the number of malaria cases by 2010 (UN Newservice).
Namibian Government Tries to Control Malaria Death Toll
The Namibian government plans to deploy 300 trained nurses to north-
ern Namibia to fight a malaria epidemic that killed 148 people in
April, officials said Thursday (News24, 11 May). Kalumbi Shangula,
the permanent secretary of health and social services, said last Mon-
day that houses would be sprayed to control the epidemic (Integrated
Regional Information Networks/allAfrica.com, 12 May). The WHO also
helped Namibia import 2 tons of vaccines from Zimbabwe after local
anti-malaria medicines ran low. Following heavy rains last month,
63,000 malaria cases have been reported in the Owambo region, report-
edly leaving some hospitals 36% above full capacity. Local nongovern-
mental organizations say health workers are being forced to put up
tents to accommodate the extra patients in rural clinics. Namibian
health officials expect the epidemic to slow in the next few weeks
with the end of the rainy season (News 24).
Roll Back Malaria Head Urges Travel Industry To Help With Prevention
Multinational corporations that employ thousands of people in the de-
veloping world are beginning to realize the benefits of supporting
local initiatives to combat malaria, according to David Alnwick, head
of Roll Back Malaria. He added, however, that international travelers
can reduce their own risk of getting malaria by promoting local anti-
malaria efforts. Tourist hotels and travel businesses, for example,
could use bed nets and dispose of garbage and stagnant water to con-
trol the disease, Alnwick said (Kate Burgess, Financial Times, 11
United States Offers Help To Indonesia
The US government Friday said it would donate US$ 500,000 to fight
the first significant malaria outbreaks in Java and Bali in 50 years.
The WHO and the US Navy will help the Indonesian government carry out
the campaign (Agence France-Presse, 11 May).
Columnist Promotes DDT Use For Malaria Prevention
An estimated 1 million lives in Africa, Asia and Latin America could
be saved every year by using DDT to repel mosquitoes, according to a
commentary by columnist Deroy Murdock in the Washington Times. While
environmentalists have pressured nations to give up DDT because of
its environmental risks, it is the cheapest and most effective way of
killing mosquitoes, Murdock writes. He praises the US administration
for avoiding a global ban on DDT (Murdock, Washington Times, 12 May).
Dr. Leela McCullough
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