Prompt delivery of effective antimalarial drugs during malarial episodes has a major impacts on determining whether those suffering from malaria shall recover or not, and on the duration of the illness. The Zambian government is aware that prolonged illness deprives the nation and households of much-needed income and productivity, while also increasing health care costs. Death not only causes emotional pain, but also loss of skilled manpower and increased government and household expenditures. To avoid these economic losses, the Ministry of Health, through the NMCC, has invested significant resources in improving malaria treatment as the disease is the highest cause of death in the country.
In 2004, Zambia changed its policy to artemether-lumafantrine (brand name = Coartem®) for use as first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. Coartem® is a highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapy. This policy change suggests national confidence in its ability to reduce malaria burden rapidly to the extent that shouldering these costs is a reasonable public health decision. In cases of complicated malaria, the recommended drug is quinine.Any person who suspects they have malaria should go to the nearest health facility to access treatment as soon as possible. Coartem® is available in both the public and private sectors in Zambia, although the medicine is packaged differently at the two locations. Please note: If the public sector pack is seen in the private sector (chemists, clinics or hospitals), members of the public are urged to call the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (PRA) on telephone number 260-1-220429 as this is government property and is therefore not supposed to be found in the private for-profit sector.