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Testing before Malaria treatment

A COMMERCIAL running on national television is urging Ghanaians to stop the self-diagnoses whenever they are under the weather because it could be fatal.


The message of the ad is that we all need to avail ourselves for thorough test before taking prescribed malaria drugs.


Many a time, we are quick to assume that we have malaria whenever we feel feverish and go in for self-medication. The danger is that considering the potency of some malaria drugs we could be hurting our organs instead of healing.


Not long ago, a study in Uganda that sought to ensure diagnostic tests for malaria before prescription helped to reduce over prescription by as high as 73%.


The Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) in registered drug shops in a highly endemic region in Uganda substantially reduced over diagnosis of malaria, improving the use of valuable malaria drugs.


Most of the 15,000 patients who visited drug shops with a fever chose to buy an RDT when offered one by the trained vendors taking part in the study. Once they performed the test, results showed that less than 60% of the patients had, in fact, malaria. The vendors usually complied with the test results, reducing over prescription of malaria drugs by 73%.


The private sector is a common source of treatment in many other malaria-endemic areas, especially where there is poor access to public health facilities. Patients buy anti-malarial drugs in shops to medicate themselves, although malaria is not always the cause of their fever, and thus inappropriate treatment is very common.


The DAILY HERITAGE is aware that some pharmacies in Ghana have begun insisting that tests are run before prescriptions are given for the treatment of malaria.


We wish to call on all to support the campaign so as to reduce significantly complicated cases that arise due to taking drugs for the wrong ailments

Source: Mohammed

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