by Rachel Shisei – EM TV, Madang
Several nurses working at health centres in and around Madang province said they feel that the current treatment for Malaria, Mala 1, may not be working.
They said this is because patients on the dose seem to be returning with the same symptoms, just weeks after completing their doses.
The nurses said this is not fair to other patients, as well as health workers, as it causes a long line of patients.
The Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Madang has responded to this claim, saying it is aware of the issue, but its job is to get scientific proof.
An IMR representative said the Mala 1 treatment is effective with fat, and so health workers must advise their patients to take it with milk, or other food items such as canned meat.
A doctor at IMR also pointed out that most health centres have capacity problems, which leads to most medical drugs being left outside and ultimately getting exposed to damaging elements.
The doctor added that most health workers in the province are outnumbered by their patients, so they are often very busy and may not have enough time to monitor expiry dates of medical drugs before giving them to patients for treatment.
He added that health workers should continue advising patients on prevention methods such as using mosquito nets, maintaining short grass where they live, and clearing out or burning all rubbish, which will help stem the mosquitoes from breeding.
The doctor said all areas concerned must be checked and if all is well, organisations like the IMR can further their research. On medical drugs, he said the research is to be carefully studied over time, which involves a lot of time and money, so health workers have to be very careful when making assumptions.
The Madang Provincial Health Officer is yet to comment on this issue.