Monday, 16 February 2009 11:57 AM

Moves to Eliminate Malaria in Solomons

A global health professor, Sir Richard Feachem, is currently in the country to help eliminate malaria in Solomon Islands.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Sir Feachem said that they are working together with the government to eliminate malaria in the provinces.

Sir Feachem stated that what they are doing is part of the Asia Pacific Malaria Network (APMEN) launched in Australia two weeks ago.

The Chairman of the Australian Government-supported Malaria Reference Group said that APMEN brings together 10 countries, including Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, to eliminate malaria.

Solomon Islands have committed itself to eliminate malaria within the provinces, to put an end to malaria related deaths and to reduce the parasite by 65 percent.

Sir Feachem said that they are not only controlling the malaria but they want to make "no more malaria".

Solomon Times was informed that elimination program has already started in Temotu Province which will progressively move to other provinces to create a Malaria-free Solomon Islands.

Sir Feachem said that funds put forward for the program has come from the Aus AID and the Global Fund.

He said that while they are conducting the large survey in Temotu, other provinces including Malaita and Guadalcanal will receive malaria control.

He said that what they are actually doing is attacking the parasite, ensure that families are using bed nets and giving out better diagnoses.

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands have published a new malaria drug that is widely used around the world.

Sir Feachem stated that the drug is very effective and quick adding that the new drug is very good for children as it is a soluble tablet which can be dissolved in water to treat a young child.

He said that they are also using the new drug during their surveys in the provinces to help eliminate malaria.

Sir Feachem stated that by having a malaria-free country, it will also help build the economy of Solomon Islands.

"Malaria pose as a threat to visiting tourists from coming into the country," he said.

"To have no more malaria in the country will encourage more investors and tourists coming into the country and it will help build the economy."

The elimination program is a four year program and is funded by the AusAID and the Global Fund.