UN-backed drive to bring Malaria drugs within reach of poor | world | Hindustan Times
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UN-backed drive to bring Malaria drugs within reach of poor

Anti-malaria drugs, more powerful than previous versions, will be put within reach of millions of people in Africa and Asia as part of an initiative launched by the UN-backed fund that fights major epidemics.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2009 14:43 IST

Anti-malaria drugs, more powerful than previous versions, will be put within reach of millions of people in Africa and Asia as part of an initiative launched by the UN-backed fund that fights major epidemics. “There is no reason any child should die of malaria anymore,” said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is managing the new USD 225 million partnership to reduce the price of the drugs.

“We have insecticide-impregnated bed nets to protect families from mosquitoes and effective drugs to treat those who do fall ill. Now we only need to ensure that all who need these things get them,” he added.

The combination of bed nets and drugs that cure malaria quickly has reduced malaria deaths by between 50 per cent and 90 per cent in areas where both are widely available, according to the Fund.

Malaria is a potentially deadly disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites and kills more than 2,000 children every day. Children make up nearly 90 per cent of the nearly 1 million people who die from malaria every year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

The new drugs, known as “artemisinin combination therapies” or ACTs, are currently 10-40 times more expensive than the old ones which have lost their effectiveness because the malaria parasite has developed resistance to them.