Nelly Bassily | March 17, 2008
Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year. It is a particular threat to young children and pregnant women. And it also affects livelihoods, often preventing farmers from working their fields and children from attending school.
You may have heard about the plant Artemisia annum or drug treatments known as Artemisinin Combination Therapies. It is interesting to see how the demand for Artemisia annum – driven by World Health Organization’s promotion of Artemisinin Combination Therapies as the first-line treatment for malaria – improved the livelihoods of farmers who grew the plant for drug companies. But we also see from the artemisia farmers in the Kabale District of Uganda that there is a risk associated with growing a single cash crop for a single buyer.
Finally, this story spoke of the use of artemisia tea as a treatment for malaria. It is important to note that, while there are many testimonies about the effectiveness of artemisia tea as a malaria treatment, there is still disagreement among the scientific community about its effectiveness.
You may wish to visit the following links for additional information about artemisia-based malaria treatment:
-A story on artemisinin, from the UN’s Integrating Regional Information Networks, which explains how and why demand for the crop rose so high: http://www.irinnews.org/InDepthMain.aspx?InDepthId=10&ReportId=57923
-A fact sheet on Artemisinin Combination Therapy, prepared by the World Health Organization
-Answers to frequently asked questions about Artemisinin Combination Therapy, prepared by the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit
-The home page for Anamed’s malaria program:
-An article from the World Agroforestry Centre about Anamed-supported programs in Northwestern Mozambique:
-A research paper on “Artemisia, Agriculture and Malaria in Africa”, prepared for the United States Agency for International Development:
You may wish to research and report on malaria prevention and treatment methods that are being practiced in your area:
-Is malaria a significant risk in your area? Are there particular times of the year when extra precautions should be taken?
-Are preventative materials (such as bednets or other materials) available to families in your area? Are they affordable? What other precautions do people take?
-If someone is suffering from malaria, what medical services are available in your area? Are they accessible and affordable?
-Has anyone in your area tried growing artemisia for community use or for sale? What have their experiences been?