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PLoS Med. 2005 Nov;2(11):e330. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Effect of artemether-lumefantrine policy and improved vector control on malaria burden in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Author information

1
Division of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. kbarnes@uctgsh1.uct.ac.za

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Between 1995 and 2000, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, experienced a marked increase in Plasmodium falciparum malaria, fuelled by pyrethroid and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance. In response, vector control was strengthened and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was deployed in the first Ministry of Health artemisinin-based combination treatment policy in Africa. In South Africa, effective vector and parasite control had historically ensured low-intensity malaria transmission. Malaria is diagnosed definitively and treatment is provided free of charge in reasonably accessible public-sector health-care facilities.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

We reviewed four years of malaria morbidity and mortality data at four sentinel health-care facilities within KwaZulu-Natal's malaria-endemic area. In the year following improved vector control and implementation of AL treatment, malaria-related admissions and deaths both declined by 89%, and outpatient visits decreased by 85% at the sentinel facilities. By 2003, malaria-related outpatient cases and admissions had fallen by 99%, and malaria-related deaths had decreased by 97%. There was a concomitant marked and sustained decline in notified malaria throughout the province. No serious adverse events were associated causally with AL treatment in an active sentinel pharmacovigilance survey. In a prospective study with 42 d follow up, AL cured 97/98 (99%) and prevented gametocyte developing in all patients. Consistent with the findings of focus group discussions, a household survey found self-reported adherence to the six-dose AL regimen was 96%.

CONCLUSION:

Together with concurrent strengthening of vector control measures, the antimalarial treatment policy change to AL in KwaZulu-Natal contributed to a marked and sustained decrease in malaria cases, admissions, and deaths, by greatly improving clinical and parasitological cure rates and reducing gametocyte carriage.

PMID:
16187798
PMCID:
PMC1240068
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pmed.0020330
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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