Thursday, April 23, 2009

Danger in malaria pills from kiosks

By AMINA KIBIRIGE

Patients have been asked to desist from using over-the-counter medicine for malaria and instead seek treatment from qualified medical practitioners.

Misuse of drugs and under- doses were the causes of the rise in drug-resistant infections, Coast provincial director of Public Health and Sanitation Anisa Omar told a Malaria Day stakeholders’ meeting in Mombasa Thursday.

Dr Omar said self-diagnosis could lead to wrong usage of drugs, thereby prolonging the healing process.

She was concerned that some private clinics still recommended inefficient treatment to cut cost.

“It is wrong for some private health facilities to still recommend chloroquine and sulphur drugs like Fansidar even after they were phased out,” Dr Omar said.

She encouraged patients to visit government health facilities where staff are properly trained on disease management.

The medic urged patients to attend government facilities due availability of drugs.

She said the new procurement procedure — pool system — which was started in 2006, was more beneficial as it ensured essential drugs were available. Under the system, a certain amount of money is allocated to hospitals and allows them to make orders for drugs directly from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.

“We have no problems on drug availability at all government hospitals at the Coast. Municipal councils should consider handing over their health facilities to us for management since we cannot share with them our budgets or equipment due to fear of mismanagement,” she said.