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New Measures Taken In Remote Villages That Save Lives Of Toddlers With Malaria

Source: Toby Madden/Transaid

Modern medicine has helped a great deal in curing illness and preventing the spread of disease. Until a few years ago, access to life-saving medical supplies was extremely hard to deliver to African countries suffering epidemics. One of the worst diseases to exist, malaria, is now being fought with new tools.

Anyone afflicted with malaria can suffer death from infection in as little as 24 hours. The unfortunate truth is that 90% of these deaths can be attributed to children 5 and under. After a little over a decade of work, a temporary system has been put in place to help areas affected by malaria.

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Testing for a pilot project in Zambia yielded wonderful results. This program is meant to give children better chances to survive until they can be treated at a hospital or clinic. In the initial pilot program, sudden deaths from malaria dropped by 96%.

The reason for this success rate is the drug atresunate. Originally delivered by injection, researchers have come up with a soft rectal suppository that can be given by a parent or healthcare professional.

You might ask “why with a rectal suppository?” The answer is simple: by administering it in this way, the drug is delivered to the bloodstream far sooner and removes the possibility of vomiting the medication. With a single two dose box, children are given another twelve hours to reach more intensive care.

One of the best parts of the program is the rapid diagnostic testing. Children can be screened for malaria with a single drop of blood. The program has also included bicycle ambulances that can be made at any shop with an oxy-acetylene torch and can navigate through paths that cars cannot.

With a new tool to combat something as deadly as malaria, there is hope that humanity can come together and defeat even more of the illnesses that affect us all.

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