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Keywords:

  • chloroquine resistance;
  • Liberia;
  • malaria;
  • plasmodium faciparium;
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

Chloroquine-resistant plasmodium falciparum malaria is a serious public health threat that is spreading rapidly across Sub-Saharan Africa. It affects over three quarters (80%) of malarial endemic countries. Of the estimated 300–500 million cases of malaria reported annually, the vast majority of malarial-related morbidities occur among young children in Africa, especially those concentrated in the remote rural areas with inadequate access to appropriate health care services. In Liberia, in vivo studies conducted between 1993 and 2000 observed varying degrees of plasmodium falciparum malaria infections that were resistant to chloroquine, including sulfadiazine-pyrimethamine. As the country emerges from a prolonged civil war, the health care delivery system may not be adequately prepared to implement an effective nation-wide malarial control strategy. As a result, the management of uncomplicated malaria in Liberia poses a significant public health challenge for the government-financed health care delivery system. Therefore, based on extensive literature review, we report the failure of chloroquine as an effective first-line drug for the treatment of uncomplicated plasmodium falciparum malaria in Liberia and recommend that national health efforts be directed at identifying alternative drug(s) to replace it.