The first Poster Session of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Monday noon) will feature a study on availability of malaria medicines in rural Ghana. “Mapping out of antimalarial drugs on stock at the market in a rural districts of Ghana” was developed by Alexander A. Nartey, Evelyn K. Ansah, Patricia Akweongo, Gloria A. Nartey, Mary A. Pomaa, Doris Sarpong, Clement Narh, and Margaret Gyapong of the Dodowa Health Research Centre.
Antimalarial drugs are a very important component of any policy for effective reduction of morbidity and mortality related to the malaria disease. The availability of efficacious and high quality antimalarials and their correct use can mitigate the risk of morbidity and mortality among the people of sub-Saharan Africa who have the highest risk of contracting and dying
Chemical (medicine) shops are major source of care for most developing countries where anti-malarial drugs can be purchase at the counter. The paper seeks to identify the different kinds of anti-malarial drugs on the market for malaria treatment in a rural district in Ghana.
A structured questionnaire was used during two seasons (peak and low malaria transmission seasons) to collect information on anti-malarial drugs from all 58 chemical shops within the Dangme West district now (Shai Osudoku and Ningo Prampram districts). Pictures of the anti-malarial drugs were taken,
The active ingredients, and also the source of the drugs documented. GIS locations of the shops were also recorded to ascertain the proximity of the shops to households in the communities. Majority (72.0%) of the chemical and pharmacy shop owners are males. Only 7.0% of the shops are pharmacy while the remainder is licensed chemical shops.
The total numbers of antimalarial drugs counted were forty nine (49). Among the stock, 4.2% were quinine, 31.9% of them were monotherapies such as artemether, Amodiaquine, Artesunate etc. Altogether, 59.4% of the artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) were artemether + Lumefantrine, 25.0% were Artesunate + Amodiaquine.
Other antimalarials observed were 9.4% Sulfadoxine + Pyrimethamine and 3.1% of of Artesunate + Sulfamethoxypyrazine + Pyrimethamine. About 47% of the anti-malarial drugs were pediatric formulations.
The national antimalarial drug policy recommends the use of ACTs for malaria treatment however; all sorts of anti-malarial drugs which are not ACTs are in stock at the chemical shops in Ghana. Chemical shops are closer to households and play a very important role in the treatment of malaria hence there is the need to train chemical sellers to stock and administer the recommended antimalarials.