WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Group distributes antimalarial drugs in Liberia as Ebola strains system

Distributing antimalarial drugs in Liberia indirectly may help control the spread of Ebola. | Contributed photo

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organization, is distributing antimalarial medications in Liberia.

The demand for Ebola assistance has affected neighboring countries to the extent that Liberia no longer has malaria treatments readily available. MSF is working to prevent new malaria cases and treat current patients. Its distributions began in Monrovia’s poorest areas on Oct. 25. Its goal was to reach 300,000 people, ages 6 months to adulthood. Four days later, 100,000 people has received their first treatments.

MSF’s efforts could reduce the number of malaria patients in medical centers, thus opening more space to Ebola patients.

“The first symptoms of malaria are the same as those of Ebola,” Dr. Chibuzo Okonta, deputy direct of emergency programs at MSF, said. “They include fever, headache and overwhelming fatigue. The antimalarial medicines treat and prevent the disease. The objective is also to eliminate the risk that patients with fever, suspected of having Ebola, will end up in Ebola treatment centers in contact with infected persons.”

With Ebola in the background, it is vital to protect both the general public and medical professionals from any potential infections. Any reason to visit medical centers could place citizens at risk for contracting Ebola. All patients and workers are taking the utmost precautions to prevent both diseases from spreading.

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