African health officials hail Chinese drug in reducing malaria deaths

China Central Television (CCTV)- Health Officials from African countries on Tuesday hailed Chinese drug Artemisinin in playing a key role in combating the deadly malaria disease as they attended the 2nd Ministerial Forum on Africa-China Health Development in South Africa.

Experts said Artemisinin in combination with other factors like use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets has reduced the mortality rate in Africa.

The drug was discovered by Chinese scientist Tu Youyou, who won a share of the 2015 Nobel Prize on Physiology or Medicine ” for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria.”

“This drug has made such a tremendous difference to global health really. We particularly appreciate it in the African region as you know malaria is one of the biggest killer of African people, particularly African children. And we were discussing the malaria development goals last week in the New York in the UN General Assembly, it was acknowledged that the African countries have made tremendous progress in reducing child death,” said Dr. Tshedi Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

Comoros is one of the African countries that benefit from the drug. The nation launched a malaria control program in 2007, and only three months later the infection rate of the disease dropped by 98.7 percent. In 2004, Comoros reported zero death rate of malaria patients.

“Comoros and China’s cooperation has made great achievements in the health sector, especially in the anti-malaria program. It is a big success not only for the Chinese scientist who won the Nobel Prize, but also for the people of Comoros,” said Fouad Mohadji, Vice President of Comoros.

Following the success of Comoros, Malawi is also promoting the anti-malarial program as about 60 percent of its people are suffering from the disease.

“If you can remove, if you can get rid of malaria that means we can free 60 percent of budget. So that is a good relationship that we have with china in health sector,” said Dr. Peter Kumpalume, Malawi’s Minister of Health.

Currently about 430,000 people die from malaria each year in the world, with 90 percent of the deaths reported in Africa.

According to WHO, most malaria deaths in Africa occur in young children aged under 5.

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