Keiko’s Initiative

Keiko’s Initiative was created in remembrance of the life, vision, and work of Global Clinic founder, Anne Keiko Golambos.

Every day more than half of the world is at risk for contracting malaria.  Out of an estimated 300-500 million cases reported annually, 1 million are fatal, which equals one death every thirty seconds.  Despite breakthroughs in science and modern medicine, it remains without a cure, and an unavoidable threat 3.3 billion tragically face on a daily basis.  Entire communities are furthermore left helpless because they are deprived of proper prevention protocol as well as access to post-transmission drugs, either because of affordability or because their local health infrastructure does not offer adequate care.  Through Keiko’s Initiative, we hope to dramatically reduce that staggering number, and help eradicate malaria once and for all.

About Malaria

Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease transmitted via mosquito, and of which there are four variants., each disrupting blood flow to the body’s vital organs.  Symptoms of all four may overlap one another and while some are benign (most closely resembling influenza, or the common flu) others are more violent and can be fatal.  Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly and the express strain that ultimately took Anne Keiko’s life.

Treatment & Resistance

Although there is no cure, advancements in medical research have produced modern drugs to treat the disease. The most recent — and incidentally, the most effective in history — is artemisinin, derived from the sweet wormwood plant, which the Chinese were the first to discover.  Prior to artemisinin, chloroquine was paramount for prevention and treatment. However, malarial parasites eventually became resistant and the discovery and manipulation of artemisinin soon followed.  Unfortunately, the same “resistant strain phenomena”1 seems to be happening here as well; reports indicate that artemisinin-derived drugs have fallen susceptible to immunity resistance.  Blood samples reveal the malaria parasite is “building resistance”2 to a key ingredient in artemisinin called artemether and that this is spreading along parts of Thailand, India, and Africa.  Several factors have led to this inauspicious discovery.

The Reach of Modern Medicine

Firstly, artemisinin is not cheap.  What’s more is it cannot be solely administered as an effective anti-malarial solution. According to the World Health Organization, it must be given in conjunction with other drugs3.  However, these “combination-packs”4 bloat the already expensive price tag:  As one report mentions, “A key problem [in the fight against malaria] is the unaffordability of the artemisinin combination drugs. A full treatment costs up to 65 times the minimum daily wage in some countries.”5

Such treatments are costly not only to the individual, but to the healthcare system as well.  As a result, many countries administer only artemisinin in hospitals and clinics, which gives parasites accelerated opportunity to increase their resistance.  The high cost also induces companies to manufacture cheap derivatives or synthetics, which are not only ineffective but also dangerous, as they allow the parasites to increase immunity, and more quickly.  Because many cannot afford the ‘real thing’, they often fall prey to scams promising to be true artemisinin.  This reality forces affected individuals to often purchase older anti-malaria drugs — to which the parasites have become completely resistant.

To compound the problem, many bypass their local hospital or health infrastructure and self-medicate by obtaining illegals (often with trace amounts of arteminisin, which only encourages the growth of resistance) and synthetics on the black market.  Although self-medication is now strongly discouraged—and may even be enacted into law in some countries, requiring those suspected of malaria to be tested before any medicines are prescribed to them—there are still many who misdiagnose, or administer dangerous drugs into their already fragile bodies.  All of these factors contribute to a frightening reality: that anti-malarial drugs are, in short, losing their efficacy.  Indeed, as a recent report stated, “It is evident that the current method of treating malaria is not ideal, efficient, or effective.”6

”One malaria drug after another has lost its effectiveness as the parasite has adapted. The prospect of losing artemisinin, the last effective weapon in the anti- malaria arsenal, has sent a chill through the global health community. There is no new anti-malaria drug in development that could readily takes its place.”7

This is what makes malaria so dangerous—not only because it is so globally pervasive but also because its carriers are so genetically adaptive.  These drug-resistant parasites are also increasing at a faster rate than with which modern medicine can compete.  With no current drug replacement in sight, the need for natural healing is crucial, especially for those who will not be able to afford whatever new anti-malarial drug eventually makes it to the market.

The Benign Solution

Fortunately, there is hope.  Studies strongly indicate that combining acupuncture with drug therapy can occlude the spread of malaria within the body, which inevitably leads to an arrest of the parasitic resistance rampant in malaria-prone countries.  The key to defeating the disease is early treatment.  Keiko’s Initiative will provide adequate prevention and post-transmission treatments by supplementing anti-malarial drug treatment with the natural and healing properties of acupuncture.

Why Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has long been a proven natural method to treat myriad health disorders, including tuberculosis, diabetes, and acute pain. Although the ancient practice has grown in popularity over the years, it is still regarded as a mystic and non-scientific practice by many cultures outside of Asia and parts of Europe.  Removing this unfair stigma and exposing the world to its healing properties is one of Global Clinic’s principle aims.

Simply put, acupuncture a means of “encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve functioning.”8  This is done by inserting thin needles into precise acupuncture points in the body, encouraging the body’s natural energy channels to flow, thusly “[irrigating] and [nourishing] the tissues and organs.”9
In scientific terms, acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system to release specific chemicals in the muscles, organs, and brain, which in turn, promote healing and trigger the body to self-regulate into healthy, balanced states.

Recent studies10 conducted in China and Europe have revealed that modern drug therapy, when combined with acupuncture, has a much higher chance of defeating malarial symptoms and effectively driving out the disease than without.  In several studies, the addition of acupuncture in fact “halted” malaria in such a way that drugs alone could not.11

Another characteristic that makes acupuncture attractive is that it is an inexpensive and “low-tech” option, which is especially valuable to patients in areas where drugs are not readily affordable or available.  Additionally, acupuncture therapy may even be preferred over secondary drugs because it does not require additional “substance[s]… to be processed by an already sensitive digestive system.”12  In other words, administering drugs to a body already ravaged by disease further compounds its vulnerability, which could render the victim too weakened to successfully combat against the disease.

Committed to the Fight

Time is of the essence.  By joining with leaders and organizations with a passion and vision to see this virulent disease erased from every global shore, we hope it will be a battle that is defeated in our lifetime.  Keiko’s Initiative will provide patients with safe and inexpensive anti-malarial treatments via acupuncture therapy, which will oftentimes be supplemented with the use of local herbs, such as cryptolepis sanguinolenta, or Nibima.

We do not assert that acupuncture alone can treat or cure advanced malaria.  But we do recognize its efficacy and value in the global fight and are adamant that the use of acupuncture in conjunction with modern drug therapy unequivocally contributes to a quicker and prolonged recovery, thereby giving individuals a proper fighting chance in reestablishing the healthy equilibrium that existed before the disease disrupted their bodies.  We firmly believe that it is the closest to a cure we can get today.

Anne Keiko was a bright beacon of light and love to everyone fortunate enough to meet her.  And Keiko’s Initiative is committed to making sure that light continues to glow even brighter.