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Health News Mon, 29 Jun 2009

NHRC to start studies on the use of Artesunate drug combination

Navrongo (U/E), June 29, GNA - The Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) would be starting a study on Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in pregnant women (IPTp) using the Artesunate combination drugs. The Artesunate combination has been chosen because it is safe for pregnant women and would not succumb to resistance like the SP treatment, commonly called Fansider that is being used for malaria prevention in pregnant women.

Dr. John Williams, Deputy Director of the Research Centre, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Navrongo. He said the study would cover 1,250 pregnant women in the Kassena-Nankana District and Kassena-Nankana West District and would be done simultaneously with Burkina Faso, Gambia and Mali. Dr Williams said there was a likelihood that the malaria parasite would prove resistant to Fansidar after some time. He said the study to use Artesunate combination was therefore being done to see how effective it would be in preventing malaria in pregnant women.

He said various studies had shown that malaria in pregnant women could cause low birth weight, which is the baby is weighing less than 2.5 kg at birth, and also anemia in the pregnant woman which could cause other complications.

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Dr Williams said the parasite sometimes hid in the placenta and might not show when a test was done, hence it was necessary to prevent the disease from attacking pregnant women.

The research centre is undertaking acceptability studies on Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in infants (IPTI) starting from birth until they are five years old. It is meant to study the children's resistance to malaria and find out why some children fall sick more often than others.

Source: GNA