| APPROXIMATELY 5% of the world’s population is infected with malaria. There are approximately 1,000,000 deaths caused by malaria annually with children being the most causalities. In Uganda, 320 people die everyday due to malaria.
To stem this death toll, a number of measures have been put in place. In Uganda, one of them is the use of quinine, a bitter powder obtained from the back of the Cinchona tree.
Quinine is well-absorbed after oral or intramuscular administration, peak levels usually reach within 4 hours. It does so more rapidly if the intra-muscular injections are diluted.
However, if not appropriately diluted and correctly administered, quinine can lead to adverse consequences including physical disability.
Post injection paralysis of the sciatic nerve
This is the new ‘polio’ in Uganda, which is avoidable if health workers practiced correct nursing.
This condition is caused when a needle hits the sciatic nerve during the process of injection. The patient gets a foot drop that requires expensive treatment, sometimes involving complex surgical procedures to correct.
The other consequences of poor intramuscular administration of quinine are injection abscesses and extensive necrosis.
Responsibility of parents/patients. Parents / patients should not delay to go to hospital when there is a change in the wellbeing of the patient. Avoid self-medication. In this case, other anti-malarial may be used, therefore avoiding quinine injections.
Quinine should be reserved for treatment of complicated malaria, which should also be only handled in centers capable of monitoring its use, that is, health center IV and above.
Sensitization of the people to accept oral treatment as effective route of administration of drugs.
The costs of managing disabilities from preventable causes such as the one above are unfordable!
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