Treatment failure among patients on self medication for malaria seen at a teaching hospital
Background: Claims of treatment failure for malaria may be due to over diagnosis. We report the outcome of a follow-up study conducted to investigate the claim of treatment failure.
Methods: One hundred and four patients who said they were not cured after home management of malaria were studied. Giemsa stained blood smears were examined qualitatively and quantitatively using thin and thick films to confirm specie and determine parasite density. Nine symptoms (fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, body pain, joint pain, cold sores and diarrhoea) were assessed based on the patients' perception and classified as present or absent.
Results: Only 85 (81.7%) patients were confirmed for Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite. Of the 85 confirmed cases. There were 19 (22.4%) symptoms-less infections. Seven symptoms present during assessment were scored according to frequency of occurrence. The most frequent symptoms were body pain (47.1%), nausea (38%), fever (38%) and headache (36%). Fever and headaches were present among those that were not confirmed and had been treated with antimalarial and reported as cases of failed home management of malaria.
Conclusion: Claims of treatment failure after home management of malaria should be reported to the clinic promptly for proper investigation and care in order to prevent over treatment of malaria and its associated risks of neglecting other illnesses which may require urgent attention.
Keywords: Antimalarial, Malaria, Failure, Self-treatment