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17 Dec 2014

Mistrust following five decades of military rule in Myanmar still runs deep in Kayin state as its people recover from shelling, land mines explosions and forced displacement. The situation is also complicated by fake or low-quality anti-malaria medicines dispensed at village shops, which instead of killing the parasites only make them stronger. "This is a big problem," said Kayin State Health Minister Aung Kyaw Htwe. "We're trying to educate shopkeepers not to sell these drugs and people not to take them." In Min Saw, where a package a colorful tablets purportedly containing anti-malaria drugs sells for as little as 10 cents, villagers like Ka Lar Nar say sometimes it is easier to buy medication from the "village quack" than to see a health worker. ALL-OUT ASSAULT Under a $100 million, three-year initiative in the Greater Mekong region, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has allocated $40 million to Myanmar to fight artemisinin resistance. Part of the plan is an all-out assault to eliminate plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite, as containment through bed nets, insecticides and treating only those who test positive no longer works.
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