With the onset of resistance to most of anti-malarial drugs, the Government in its national drug policy on malaria 2010 has recommended Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) treatment of plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria.

The District Malaria Office has received Artesunate drugs to treat the patients with the ACT.

The malaria officials here also received kits to conduct rapid Pf tests. These kits would be useful at places where microscope was not available. The kits were being used to conduct tests at door steps of patients if required, according to District Malaria Officer A. Rambabu.

The drug policy has recommended that the patients suffering from Pf malaria be treated with the ACT. Artesunate drug was supplied last year, but Government has intensified the use of the new drug.

The artesunate tablets costing Rs.190 were being provided free of cost to the patients. The medicines, however, would not be given to patients across the counter.

The MPHS staff would visit the patients' houses every day to give the medicines. As part of the ACT, artesunate would be given for three days, and sulphadoxine-phyrimethamine and primaquine each on single day.

The dosage depends on various factors like age and body weight, he said.

Many physicians were unaware of the new drug and relying on old anti-malarials though resistance to anti-malarials has been reported in both Pf and Pv malaria. The drug resistance in Pf is not confined to chloroquine alone. The drug policy says that the Artesunate, Artemether and Arteether were the most effective anti-malarials.

These were used for the treatment of severe malaria and have shown very rapid parasite clearance, he explained.