Chinese antimalarial drug saving lives in Uganda
Agnes Akissa and her 11-year-old son have suffered several bouts of malaria, greatly impacting on her household income as the female anopheles' bites made her lose working hours.
Malaria is an endemic disease in Uganda, killing mostly pregnant mothers and children below the age of five. Those who are sick of the disease lose several working hours and also have to spend their meagre income to treat the disease.
The Ministry of Health announced earlier that the country was facing an unprecedented increase of malaria cases over the last three months. The malaria cases between June and August increased to 1.4 million from 1 million.
People like Akissa are using a Chinese-made drug, Duo-Cotecxin, for the treatment of the deadly malaria. The artemisinin-based combination therapy is manufactured by China-based KPC Pharmaceuticals, Inc..
"After taking it, I started feeling better unlike other previous medicines I have been taking," Akissa told Xinhua, noting that she also treated her school-going child with Duo-Cotecxin after he tested positive for malaria.
Feng Shichao, a Chinese construction worker, told Xinhua that he first got a malaria attack while in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
"I had a fever and my temperature was 39.6 degrees Celsius, and I suffered pain in all my joints and a splitting headache. At that time, I was very nervous and worried, scared of dying from cerebral malaria," Feng said.
When Feng sought treatment from China Aid Hospital in South Sudan, the doctor prescribed Duo-Cotecxin.
"There are several malaria drugs on the market but the advantage of Duo-Cotecxin is that you swallow tablets once a day for three days unlike other treatments where you swallow twice a day for three days, " said Laban Kittata, a pharmacist at Royal Pharm 2011 Ltd in the capital Kampala.
Kittata argued that the lesser the number of times one swallows the tablets the more chances of adhering to the treatment.
He said although the price of Duo-Cotecxin is slightly higher on the market compared to other malaria medicines, the drug works and patients find it easy to adhere to the treatment.
Hu Junjie, the general manager KPC Cotec Medical Company, a subsidiary of KPC Pharmaceuticals, Inc. told Xinhua that apart from manufacturing the drug to help fight the disease, the company will open a modern hospital facility in the country to provide health care to women and children.
Hu said this is geared towards fighting communicable diseases that are said to be on the increase in the country.
China has over the years donated medical equipment and an assortment of medicines including antimalarial to Uganda to improve local health care service.
According to the Chinese embassy, China has been donating medical supplies to Ugandaworth more than 8 million U.S. dollars over the past 36 years.
"Public health cooperation is an important component of the friendly China-Uganda and China-Africa relations. We have provided necessary assistance to Uganda to the best of our capability, helping to improve the health care service," said Chen Huixin, counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda. (Xinhua)