June 9, 2005

Kenya and Tanzania to start producing anti-malaria drug

A company involved in the production of artemisinine, an anti-malaria drug, is due to set up extraction plants in Kenya and Tanzania to make the drug easily and cheaply available to patients, an official for the company has announced. The factories would be established in East Africa because of the potential in the region for cultivating artemisia-annua, the plant from which the anti-malaria drug is extracted, the managing director of African Artemisia Limited, Geoff Burrell, said at a conference convened by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. According to him, a factory was already in operation in Uganda. The one planned for Kenya would be functioning this year while another would be operational in 2006 in the town of Moshi in northern Tanzania. "This is a major step in the control of malaria," said Dr Allan Schapira, the head of coordination, strategy and policy in WHO's Roll Back Malaria Department. (Rts)

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