News / Africa

Outdated Drugs Slow Nigerian Malaria Treatment

Malaria patientsMalaria patients
x
Malaria patients
Malaria patients
Heather Murdock
— A large percentage of people killed by malaria each year are in Nigeria, and the disease is the country’s number one killer of small children.  Health officials say modern life-saving drugs are available but the widespread use of out-dated drugs on a resistant strain of malaria continues to cost lives. 

In this hospital in Nigeria's Zamfara State, these small patients have malaria.  Mothers travel for hours to get to treatment for their children because there is no medicine in their villages.

"I brought the baby here because I noticed he had a high fever, and then he got diarrhea,” explains a mother.

Aid workers say the current surge in malaria began over the summer, and patients continue to pour in. 

"At the end of July, my team called me and said, ‘Malaria exploded," says Chloe Wurr, a physician with Doctors Without Borders in the northern state of Sokoto. "We have so many children coming.  Some of them arrived and we could barely keep them alive.  They died before we could give them treatment."

Wurr says one out of every 10 children with severe malaria here dies, and that's with the best of care. 

"Heath personnel are often very committed and want to help their community but they often don’t have the resources to treat people," she said. "If I do find any treatment present, it’s usually that that health worker has gone to a local pharmacy and purchased a drug and the drug they are most likely to purchase is chloroquine.”

The doctor says chloroquine can treat malaria in some countries.  But in Nigeria, the disease has been resistant to the drug since the 1980s.

There are drugs that have been effective against malaria in Nigeria for the past decade and they are known as ACTs.

However Doctors Without Borders says the vast majority of clinics they have visited in the country don't have them, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says they are not available to most Nigerians.

The Nigerian government says it’s planning to increase ACT availability along with providing more bed-nets, which can keep the mosquitoes that transmit the disease from biting in the night.

But with the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) saying that 250,000 Nigerian children under the age of five die every year from malaria, aid workers claim the program has a long way to go.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid