WHO Press release: Tackling emerging antimalarial drug resistance in Africa

20 November, 2022

Extracts and a comment from me below. Full text:


Thursday, 17 November 2022


Tackling emerging antimalarial drug resistance in Africa

17 November 2022 | Geneva | News release

WHO is launching today a new strategy to respond to the urgent problem of antimalarial drug resistance in Africa. The strategy is being released during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, a global annual campaign to improve awareness of the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics and other medicines.

In recent years, there have been reports from Africa of emerging parasite resistance to artemisinin – the core compound of the best available medicines to treat malaria. There are also worrying signs that parasites in some areas may be resistant to drugs that are commonly combined with artemisinin. Vigorous measures are needed to protect their efficacy.

“Although antimalarial drug resistance is a serious cause for concern, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) remain the best available treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria,” notes Dr Pascal Ringwald, lead author of the new strategy and a Coordinator in the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “Health care providers should continue to prescribe and use ACTs to treat confirmed malaria.” [...]

The new WHO strategy builds on lessons learned from past global plans and complements existing strategies, including broader efforts to respond to antimicrobial resistance. It aims to minimize the threat and impact of antimalarial drug resistance in Africa through 4 pillars:

· Strengthen surveillance of antimalarial drug efficacy and resistance.

· Optimize and better regulate the use of diagnostics and therapeutics to limit drug pressure through pre-emptive measures.

· React to resistance by limiting the spread of antimalarial drug-resistant parasites

· Stimulate research and innovation to better leverage existing tools and to develop new tools against antimalarial drug resistance.


Media contacts:



COMMENT (NPW): An important driver that is not mentioned in the press release is inappropriate use of antimalarials. This includes overuse, underuse (especially failure to take the correct dose for the correct number of days), use of the wrong drug (which is common), and use of counterfeti drugs. It is vitally important that health workers and the population have access to reliable information on correct use of antimalarials. The reality, as WHO has previously noted, is that ‘Globally, most prescribers receive most of their prescribing information from the pharmaceutical industry and in many countries this is the only information they receive.’

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines http://www.hifa.org/projects/prescribers-and-users-medicines

Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK based non-profit in official relations with the World Health Organization.

Twitter: @hifa_org neil@hifa.org