Broadcast: May 31, 2004
This is Robert Cohen with the VOA Special English Development Report.
Malaria is estimated to kill another child in Africa every thirty seconds. But there is new evidence that treatment of malaria at home can save many lives. This is called home-based management. Home-based management is being used in several countries in Africa. These include Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria.
Local health workers and mothers of young children are trained to recognize the signs of malaria. They are taught to seek treatment immediately. Store keepers are trained to sell the right amount of medicine for the age of the patient. And directions about how to use the drugs have pictures so they are easier to understand.
World Health Organization officials say this treatment at home is reducing malaria deaths in children under the age of five. One example is in Burkina Faso. W.H.O. officials say deaths decreased by more than fifty percent when high body temperatures were treated quickly.
High fever is the most important sign of malaria. Experts say children should be treated within twenty-four hours after their temperature rises. At first, a cool wet cloth may help reduce the body temperature. But children can die within two days if the malaria becomes severe. Children must receive the correct amount of medicine. And they must take all the medicine they are given.
Mothers and health workers are told to take the child to a medical center if the fever is treated but continues after two days. Other signs of malaria include sleepiness and feeling sick in the stomach. The W.H.O. says people often take patients to traditional healers to treat another effect of malaria: severe shaking. But it says the healers should be trained to tell them they must go to a hospital.
The World Health Organization has published a guide in an effort to increase malaria treatment at home. This information tells about how to train and educate mothers and other people about malaria. In Uganda, for example, communities have elected a person to learn the signs of malaria and provide medicine. Teachers and store keepers are also trained to help educate the community about malaria.
The guide is called "Scaling Up Home-Based Management of Malaria." Internet users can find it at www.who.int. Again, www.who.int.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Karen Leggett. This is Robert Cohen.