ADDIS ABABA, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Thursday called on pharmaceutical firms and donor countries to reduce the price of a new anti-malaria drug, to get behind an initiative to introduce the life-saving drug to hundreds of millions of people.
According to a press release issued by UNICEF, the powerful new drug called artemisinin-containing combination therapy (ACT) can save the lives of 300 million people afflicted by malaria every year. But it is comparatively expensive and currently available only in limited quantities.
"If the private and public sectors work together effectively, we can quickly reshape the marketplace for malaria drugs and take a great leap toward rolling back malaria," said Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy before the Africa Malaria Day to be marked on April 25.
UNICEF and partners are working with global manufacturers to expand the production of high quality ACTs so that every child and community that needs these drugs can access them readily, it said.
Chloroquine, the least expensive and most widely used anti-malaria drug, has lost its effectiveness in many parts of Africa, the press release said.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, claims lives of over one million children every year, most of whom under the age of five, according to the release. Enditem