Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tackling Malaria Menace With Camosunate

Tackling Malaria Menace With Camosunate 
By Pharm. Emeka Nwachukwu

As World Malaria Day is marked, the disease remains a major threat to health in countries prone to it. Malaria also appears to be the most dreaded disease in third world countries, yet though not many know it, the disease, as simple as it sounds, and as common as its symptoms are, is a giant killer, especially among third world rural dwellers. Expectant mothers and infants are the two most Malaria preys. Infant mortality rate traceable to Malaria was probably music to the ears of residents of Ogudu area of Lagos months ago until a young nursing mother painfully lost her four weeks old baby girl to the disease.

For the grief-stricken young lady, the sting of Malaria was just two painful to bear. She could not just fathom why “ordinary” Malaria which she and members of her family had always treated with Agbo, a local herb concoction and in some cases, Alabukun and a local Gin, should claim the life of her precious little first child.

The unfortunate incident narrated above brings to the fore the misconception spiced with ignorance a broad spectrum of people; especially in developing countries have about Malaria. They are not simply aware that Malaria is deadlier and kills faster that HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis; renal failure among other popular life threatening diseases, yet the disease (Malaria) is easier and cheaper to treat.

Malaria facts are alarming. That it is no respecter of gender and age is one. Another is that it is responsible for high infant mortality in Africa. According to the  World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, there are about 219 million cases of Malaria in 2010 and estimated 660,000 deaths. WHO says that “most Malaria deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from Malaria”.

Country-level burden estimates available for 2010 indicate that an estimated 80 percent of Malaria deaths occur in just 14 countries and about 80 percent of cases occur in 17 countries. It has been established that together, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria account for over 40 percent of the estimated total of Malaria cases globally.

According to D. D. Uyagu and A. E. Omoigberale of the Department of Family Medicine, and Department of Child Health, respectively of University of Benin Teaching Hospital UBTH, in Nigeria nearly 10 million clinical cases of Malaria are diagnosed per year. This translates to about 50 percent of the adult population experiencing at least one Malaria episode per year, while young children can have up to two to four attacks of Malaria annually.

The dons conclude that Malaria is a major health problem in Nigeria. In a clime where healthcare is far spread and sometimes non-existence, remedy is most times a distant dream. Self medication, occasioned by poverty among low income earners is equally an ally of Malaria-related deaths. For millions of Malaria sufferers in Nigeria, a trip to a local “chemist shop” for a “mixture” of mélange of tablets is all that is required for treatment. This explains why Malaria kills more than dreaded diseases. According to Uyagu and Omoigberale, Malaria accounts for 25 percent of under-five mortality, 30 percent of childhood mortality and 11 percent of maternal mortality. In Nigeria, 70 percent of pregnant women suffer from Malaria each year, and it causes anemia in pregnancy, abortion, still birth and low birth weight infants.

Essentially 50 – 60 percent of out-patient consultations and 10 – 30 percent of overall hospital admissions in Nigeria are due to Malaria. In addition to the direct health impact on the populace, economic loss linked to Malaria in Nigeria is huge.

Lack of access to healthcare, and ignorance, apart from forcing many Malaria sufferers in Nigeria to resort to self-help, has also led many to erroneously attribute deaths arising from untreated Malaria to all sorts of superstition. Indeed, a large segment of the population is still not aware that a specie of mosquito called Anopheles transmits the disease through bite. Malaria caused by Plasmodium parasites and the parasites are spread to victims through the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes.

Time was when Chloroquine was the combat drug for Malaria. But the growing resistance of Malaria to the drug led experts to come up with the ACT combination therapy. With the staggering estimate of Nigerians who fall prey to Malaria yearly, Nigeria is no doubt a huge market for ACT brands of Malaria drugs. The country’s Pharmaceutical stores and even local “chemist shops” are bourgeoning with a plethora of such drugs. Experts are of the view that Camosunate is not only one of the ACT drugs in the market but also one of the most efficacious.

Camosunate is a combination of Artesunate and Amodiaquine. Essentially ,Camosunate is of the four forms of ACT recommended by WHO. This by the virtue of its Artesunate and Amodiaquine(AS + AQ) content. In a recent study on Malaria treatment using the ACT, Uyagu and Omoigberale picked Camosunate as an instrument of study. Their words: “One of the Artesunate plus Amodiaquine brands in the country is Camosunate by Geneith Pharmaceutical Limited. This study is a clinical study of the efficacy and safety of Camosunate in the treatment of uncomplicated Malaria”.

WHO advises that Artesunate is the drug of choice for severe Malaria both in children and adults. The world health body recommends that in areas of high transmission such as Nigeria, Artesunate must be combined with Amodiaquine and administered on sufferers. The combination of Artesunate and Amodiaquine is known with various names, including Camosunate. Marketed in Nigeria by Geneith Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited, Camosunate combats Malaria scourge headlong. The efficacy of Camosunate in treatment of Malaria earned the drug effusive praises from the Institute of Government Research and Leadership Technology (IGRLT) in 2012 when the Institute named it “The Best Malaria Management Drug”.

The brand which is one of the flagship brands of Geneith Pharmaceutical was recognized by the IGRL as the best drug in its category because of many positive indications such as product quality, value creation and efficacy, international standard compliance with regulatory law, patient compliance, track records and ethical standard associated with it.

As the World Malaria Day is marked, Geneith Pharmaceutical believes that the world is capable of defeating the Malaria menace if the right medication and drugs are applied. Camosunate comes in adult and children formulae. Children Camosunate has the unique qualities of being the first innovative pediatrics formulation introduced for the first time in Nigeria, in granular sachets. The concepts behind this technology are to produce children’s anti-malaria drugs in sachets such that parents who treat Malaria do not need to measure doses of drugs with spoons. Stability is thus ensured.

Geneith boss, Emmanuel Umenwa is optimistic that with Camosunate which is endorsed by NAFDAC, sufferers of Malaria in Nigeria now have a credible but efficacious alternative in the battle against the disease.

Pharm Nwachukwu is AGM (sales) Geneith  pharm ltd.

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