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Home / Health & Science

Boost in fight against malaria as firm donates 200,000 drugs

By SOPHIAN MUTHONI | Mon,Nov 10 2014 00:00:00 EAT

The Ministry of Health is expected to receive 200,000 dispersible paediatric anti-malarial drugs from a private company.

The drugs expected from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company in partnership with Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the parent company of Huggies diapers, and a US non-profit called Malaria No More, are expected to arrive in the country this month.

"Treatment is essential to help fight malaria, especially as the medicines protect our most vulnerable population, children under five," said Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

"Long-standing commitments by private sector companies like Novartis and Kimberly-Clark demonstrate the dedication to eliminate malaria in this country," he added.

The announcement by Novartis and partners is a move to keep the promise they made in June to deliver the drugs and comes in the wake of a Kimberly-Clark supported programme named Mothers Against Malaria that is aimed at raising awareness and educating pregnant women against malaria in the country.

Accelerate progress

"As the maker of one of the world's leading diaper brands, helping mothers and their children is a responsibility we take very seriously," said Kimberly-Clark Europe, Middle East and Africa President Gustavo Calvo Paz.

The dispersible paediatric anti-malarial drugs donation is part of the Power of One global malaria treatment donation campaign launched by Malaria No More in partnership with Novartis to help close the malaria treatment gap and accelerate progress in the fight against malaria.

"Our commitment to Power of One reflects our company's long-term efforts to fight and ultimately eliminate malaria," said Mo Metwally, Novartis country head Kenya and English East Africa.

"Novartis has been active in Kenya for more than 40 years, delivering over 78 million malaria treatments without profit to the public sector since 2006 and expanding access to quality-assured artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in the private sector," he added.

In July, Novartis unveiled a new malaria drug - Coartem 80/480 - designed to reduce the number of tablets taken per dose.

"This tablet's formulation is bio-equivalent to four standard tablets and aims to improve patient compliance," said Metwally.

Other projects Novartis is involved in include a project dubbed Familia Nawiri, which is a rural medicine access programme whose goal is to improve health education and access to essential medicines in rural areas, and a programme dubbed Interlife.

"Novartis is working with the Kenyatta National Hospital and physicians in Spain to help build a centre of excellence for renal transplants for patients in Kenya and across East Africa," Metwally revealed.

Malaria, followed by pneumonia, were the leading killer-diseases in the country last year according to the Kenya Economic Survey 2014. 

Having claimed more than 46,000 lives, the ailments have proved to be serious threats to the economy.

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