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Hispanic Health News

World Health Organization Targets Drug-Resistant Malaria

A global plan to fight drug-resistant malaria was launched Wednesday by the World Health Organization.

It said failure to combat the spread of resistance to artemisinin—a key component of new malaria drugs—would be “catastrophic,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Drug-resistant malaria has appeared in areas on the Cambodia-Thailand border and may have spread to other areas in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. More than $175 million will be required for research and to contain resistance is these regions, the WHO said.

It also called for increased surveillance of drug resistant malaria, noting that in 2010 only 31 of 75 countries routinely conducted tests on the effectiveness of malaria drugs, AFP reported.

“The emergence of artemisinin resistance has been a wake-up call. It gives us another compelling reason to step up existing control measures with the greatest sense of urgency,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.