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Firm unveils stronger drug in bid to boost malaria treatment

By SOPHIAH MUTHONI | Mon,Jul 07 2014 00:00:00 EAT

Firm unveils stronger drug in bid to boost malaria treatment

Nairobi, Kenya: Malaria treatment has received a major boost after a stronger and more convenient drug for both children and adults was launched at the weekend.

The drug - Coartem 80/480 - which was launched by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company at a Nairobi hotel, has been designed to reduce the number of tablets taken per dose.

Kenya is the third country in Africa to receive the drug that will cost Sh600 per dose.

Patients with uncomplicated malaria and weighing 35kg and above are required to take one tablet a day for three days to complete the dose. This is a change from the 24-tablet dose in what Novartis called a bid to enhance patient compliance.

“Novartis reaffirms its strong commitment to the fight against malaria. This achievement is a truly remarkable milestone contributing to treating many patients and helping the reduction of disease burden. The fewer tablets offer a convenient solution for busy lives,” said Novartis Medical Manager for Africa Dr Nathan Mulure.

Novartis has its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and is already registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

It is the same company that pioneered the launch of the anti-malaria drug commonly known as Artemisinin Combination Therapy Drugs (ACT). A few years later, they launched the first ACT drug designed for children.

According to Andrew Nyandigisi from the division of Malaria Control in the Ministry of Health, Kenya hopes to have 80 per cent of people living in malaria-risk areas using appropriate malaria preventive interventions by 2017.

”We are looking to ensure that all malaria epidemic prone counties have the capacity to detect and respond to malaria epidemics by 2015 and to strengthen surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems so that key malaria indicators are routinely monitored and evaluated in all counties by 2017," said Dr Nyandigisi.

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