The Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong has called on the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to critically check the potency and composition of anti-malaria herbal medicine preparation in the country.
He explained a study found out that some of the herbal preparations contain chloroquine which had been withdrawn due to its resistance.
“We want herbal preparation and not adulterated herbal preparation” he said.
Prof. Boampong was speaking at an inaugural lecture at the University of Cape Coast on the topic: “Malaria treatment failures: what can we do?”
He stated that: “Intentional addition of chloroquine to these herbal preparations to enhance their effectiveness has serious public health concerns as it may induce cross resistance to amodiaquine, one of the partner drugs in the recommended ACT for use in Ghana.”
He noted that efforts were being made by a research team from UCC to understand the biology and behaviour of the malaria parasites, saying, “Other field studies have also shown a high prevalence of chloroquine resistant mutants in the population even after the use of chloroquine had been banned”.
Prof. Boampong indicated that, through research, they had been able to come up with some solutions to the problem associated with malaria parasite.
He explained that, prompt diagnosis can help detect malaria on time and also enhance its early treatment while stating that, the best method to prevent and control the malaria vector is vaccination.
He indicated that the reason Ghana was finding it difficult to get vaccines for malaria was due to the malaria parasite having a huge number of proteins which continues to change.
Malaria situation in Africa, he said, was underpinned by several interconnected challenges undermining all intervention strategies such as lack of robust and sustained international and domestic financing, coupled with little or no coordinated collaboration at the continental and regional levels to fight the disease due to lack of commitment of governments of the affected countries.
Other challenges he explained were favourable climatic and environmental factors that support survival of the vector and thus increase malaria transmission, emergence of mosquitoes resistant to insecticides and parasites resistant to anti-malarial medicines/drugs which invariably lead to treatment failures.
Prof. Boampong further said that factors including failure to take required doses of malaria drugs and poverty could result in malaria treatment failures due to the individual not feeding well and not taking the required dosage of drugs.
He noted the importance of the country to come up with drugs that would address the issue of resistance in malaria treatment.
He stated that, there was a possible emergence of resistance of artesonate amodaiquin in Ghana at the time of the study, explaining that, the country had diversity of plants which make it possible to get drugs from plants.
Prof. Boampong underscored the need for the government to challenge scientists in the country and provide the required funding to support them to come up with the development of an effective drug in case there was resistance to the existing drugs being used for malaria treatment.
He indicated that the management of UCC had established a malaria research centre within the university and stated that the centre demonstrates the commitment of the institution in contributing towards addressing the issue of malaria in the country.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST