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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Artemisia

for AFRICA

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Artemisia annua, what is it ?

It is a plant used for 2000 years by the Chinese to prevent and cure malaria. It also acts as a repellent against mosquitoes.

It is consumed in the form of an infusion, dry leaves, powder or capsules.

IDAY deals with education in Africa. Why take an interest in a plant?

There is evidence that health has an impact on the quality of education. The results of the School Gardens projects in place since 2008, with Artemisia annual crops show a decrease in the absenteeism of the children and the teachers, an increase in school results and a decrease of the healthcare costs of the establishments (budget which is released for other projects).

It should also be noted that 3 crises of malaria before the age of 5 decreases by 15% the cognitive abilities of the child.

Why does malaria have an impact on education?

A simple example: a teacher has 54 students in his class. His wife is having a malaria attack: he walks 2 days in the bush with her to go to the nearest health center. She is treated for 5 days. They go back 2 days to reach their village. For 9 days, 54 children do not have a teacher. And it was the teacher's wife ... there is also the malaria crisis of the pupils, the teacher, etc… Would it not have been easier to have Artemisia Annua in the school garden?

How can 10€ help protect 3 children and their families against malaria ?

10 euros help protect 3 children and their families against malaria sustainably.  The program includes:

  • sensitization to the need to prevent malaria (affects cognitives capacities, influence on the quality of education linked to absenteeism of teachers and learners) thanks to the use of Artemisia annua

  • agricultural training

  • implementation of a school garden combining Artemisia annua culture and plants (Fruit and vegetables) with high nutritional value to improve the quantity and quality of school meals

  • since the plant is a delicate crop, a student exchange program from IDAY projects where the plant has been established in a sustainable way will be implemented to provide technical assistance to young people committed to creating a school garden in their school 

  • school canteen: another innovative aspect of the project is to equip canteens with energy saving stoves to reduce wood consumption and CO2 emissions. IDAY-International has financed this type of stoves in Kenya and reports indicate a 50% decrease in wood consumption (impact on the ecological level but also on the workload of canteen women), halving the cooking time (which increases the production capacity of the canteen). In addition, it is known that the distribution of meals at school increases pupil attendance and thus positively influences the level of education

  • from a medical point of view, it is expected that a sample of pupils and teachers will be tested against malaria. Similar tests will be performed after consuming Artemisia annua daily. Coupled with the positive results already obtained in other schools, they will feed the advocacy with the local authorities for an extension of the project in the other schools of the country. The tests will be funded and carried out by the local government health services

Have studies already been conducted that prove that Artemisia annua is effective against malaria?

The greatest evidence of the effectiveness of the plant as prevention and as a treatment for malaria is its use by the Chinese for over 2000 years! Studies have started on the subject for several years now (a document containing scientific references can be sent on request). They show that there are no side effects, that there is no resistance, that it is adequate for pregnant women and young children, that the whole plant must be consumed because the different components play a complementary role. Studies also show that the plant adapts to different geo-climatic conditions.

World Health Organization: What does it think of the Artemisia annua?

Artemisia annua is the plant from which artemisinin is extracted, which is associated with another product (such as Mefloquine) to produce the official drug (ACT) promoted by the World Health Organization and distributed worldwide. BUT! The first resistances were observed to the latter drug, which means that it becomes less and less effective against malaria.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? Artemisia annua!

Studies show that Artemisia annua should be used in its entirety. It is in fact the combination of its components that makes it effective against malaria and that there are no observed resistances: there are too many different components for the body to develop resistances.

Thus, the plant as a repellent against mosquitoes and as a preventive and curative herb tea or powder, is a solution that IDAY-International regularly brings to the table of the WHO, which for now is awaiting the results of the research to lift its resistance.

Why is Artemisia annua not yet adopted as an official means to eradicate malaria?

Well, because in our Western way of thinking, for many doctors, "we do not treat diseases with plants". And in addition, the pharmaceutical companies have not yet shown interest in this plant ...

Our goal is to prove the evidence, observed on the ground, through an international scientific study for the World Health Organization to lift its reservations. IDAY + Kenyatta University signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct this research in accordance with WHO requirements.

1. The research will be conducted by Kenyatta University (Kenya) with the support of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Ma, USA), Wageningen University (the Netherlands) + and Liege University (Belgium).

The study will also show that the plant can be used by pregnant women and young children.

 

2. Financing of new school gardens: more young people need to be trained throughout Africa to grow the plant. In 2010, in a pilot program promoted by IDAY-Kenya in the Kisumu region of Kenya, an area severely affected by malaria, Artemisia annua was planted by students from two secondary schools. Preventive treatment with tea has proven to be surprisingly effective. School absenteeism disappeared and health expenditure has fallen by 80%. Student performance has skyrocketed. As a result of this success, many schools in Kenya have adopted the plant and Artemisia annua projects have also been launched by IDAY members in Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Gabon, DRC , Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The results are all in the same direction ... so we must continue!

The school garden budget includes irrigation, tools and training (technical support given by agronomists to young people who start a project).

In addition, IDAY supports Youth Clubs: young people who have invested in the cultivation of Artemisia annua in their school, keep 10% of the seeds in order to bring them to other schools. In addition to the seeds, they bring their knowledge necessary to the culture.

Once the crop is launched, the project no longer requires external investment since it is managed locally.

 

3. The results of the scientific studies combined with the results obtained in the field will give confidence to the World Health Organization and the Ministers of Health who may decide to switch to an official use of Artemisia annua in their country. The Artemisia annua is attracting growing interest among governments of the African continent, due in particular to the growing difficulties encountered with official programs, both in terms of resistances to distributed pharmaceutical products and financially.

What will the scientific research focus on?

1. The performance of Artemisia annua compared to other interventions introduced in Kenya (mosquito nets, insecticides and medicines) and clear scientific evidence of its effectiveness

2. The possible development of a resistance against Artemisia annua herbal tea with reduced composition relative to the whole plant and a comparative evaluation of the alternatives offered by it

3. Quality control measures and monitoring ensure, with practice, the effectiveness and reproducibility of the effects of the Artemisia annua-based treatment (and its varieties) grown in different agro-ecological zones, both as an in vivo repellent agent and Prophylactic or curative use. Possible use of Artemisia annua (Artemisia annua tea, whole leaflet in capsules / tablets) on pregnant women to establish efficacy and biosecurity in this group of malaria-affected individuals

Why is it that people develop resistance to drugs and not to the plant?

It is observed that Artemisia annua acts as a true combination therapy.

It is indeed the combination of its components that would make it more effective against malaria than drugs and that there is no resistance: there are too many different components for the parasite to develop resistance.

What do local people think?

This is the strength of the project: local people see the effects of the plant and take over the project. Some prisons, not generally receiving the means of prevention and care for malaria, also began to cultivate the Artemisia annua. A prisoner often takes seeds with him at the end of his incarceration and starts a culture in his village.

Who else uses the Artemisia annua?

The Artemisia annua is also used by private companies, here are two examples:

- In Burundi: several companies, including Rentec, cultivate or use the Artemisia annua to protect its employees from malaria. The company has seen its absenteeism rate and healthcare costs drastically decrease

-In Uganda: 1000 agricultural cooperatives regularly consume Artemisia annua tea to protect themselves from malaria.

protéger de la malaria.

Did the Artemisia annua have other virtues?

Yes, it is also very effective in the treatment of intestinal parasites, the third most frequent disease in Africa which is alsoresponsible for school absenteeism. Studies show that deworming students has an impact on academic performance. Scientific studies suggest that the plant is effective against several tropical infectious diseases including tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis, ...

Is the plant difficult to cultivate?

It is not uncommon for the crop to fail in the first year: the plant has not received enough water, people haven't harvested the leaves on time before flowering. But our experience on the ground shows us that expertise is acquired quickly. IDAY has set up Youth Clubs: young people who have invested in the Artemisia annua culture in their school, keep 10% of the seeds to bring them to the neighboring schools. In addition to the seeds, they bring their required knowledge to the culture. Agronomists also support young people in existing projects.

Is it adaptable to all climatic conditions and all terrain?

The plans of Artemisia annua had to be adapted to the geo-climatic conditions of the different regions of Africa. Experience shows that it grows everywhere with an intake of organic manure and an adequate supply of water.

 

Does it grow back every year?

No, it's an annual plant. It is therefore necessary to keep seed that will be replanted the following year.

 

Does it need a lot of water?

It needs water on a regular basis. Irrigation is therefore part of the budget of the projects we support.

 

What is the area needed?

1 hectare of Artemisia annua can protect up to 125,000 people.

Posology of the Artemisia annua

Preventive: 3 gr of Artemisia annua in the form of herbal tea 1 X / day for 9 consecutive days / month

In cure: 3 x 3 gr / day for 9 days in a row (ie 3 tablespoons for 1 liter of water per day)

A few figures in relation to malaria

Despite all the efforts deployed today:

  • Malaria still kills 1 child every 2 minutes

  • 269 million people have no access to nets

  • 80 million have no access to ACT

  • 15 million pregnant women have no access to adapted treatment (IPTP)

Problem:

  • 2.5 billion spent in 2014: international investments accounted for 78% (US$ 1.9 billion) and governments of malaria endemic countries for 22% ($550 million)

  • WHO estimates US$ 6,4 billion is needed to cover every person at risk but only US$ 2 billion is available