Efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of uncomplicated, Plasmodium falciparum malaria in northern Ghana

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2002 Apr;96(3):239-47. doi: 10.1179/000349802125000772.


Chloroquine (CQ) resistance in Plasmodium falciparum contributes to growing malaria-attributable morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the extent and degree of such resistance vary considerably between endemic areas. Data on CQ resistance in northern Ghana are almost entirely lacking. The therapeutic efficacy of CQ in uncomplicated malaria was therefore assessed, in a standard, 14-day protocol, in 225 children aged <5 years in Tamale, in the Northern region of Ghana. Early treatment failure (ETF) was observed in 11% of the children and late treatment failure in 18%. High initial parasite density and young age were independent predictors for ETF. Resistant parasitological responses (RI-RIII) were seen in 57% of the cases that could be classified. More than half of these responses occurred in children fulfilling the criteria for adequate clinical response (ACR), indicating a considerable lack of agreement between parasitological and clinical outcome. During the follow-up period, haemoglobin levels increased by approximately 1g/dl not only in patients with ACR but also in those who experienced clinical failure more than 1 week post-treatment. As CQ-treatment failure occurred in >25% of the children and more than half of the parasitological responses indicated resistance, current recommendations for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in young children in northern Ghana have to be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Male
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antimalarials
  • Chloroquine