ACTS TO BE INTRODUCED IN NAIROBI'S PUBLIC HOSPITALS

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A new, stronger malaria drug is to be introduced in public hospitals in Nairobi next month, the country's health ministry has announced. Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is expected to replace sulphur-based drugs such as Fansidar and Metakelfin, to which malaria parasites have built resistance.

The switch to ACT treatment has been made possible through a two-year, $500,000 donation to Kenya by the Global Fund, an HIV/AIDS awareness group headquartered in Switzerland. Under the Global Fund program, private and mission hospitals will also be stocked during an initial two-year phase, after which the government of Nairobi is expected to fund the program.

The new therapy promotion comes alongside changes in the country's National Medicines Policy on treatment guidelines. James Nyikal, the director of Nairobi's medical services sector, announced recently that a 23-member committee made up of industry professionals would be named next month to review and draft new drug-use guidelines.