Assessment of treatment pattern of uncomplicated malaria in under-fives in a paediatric unit of a Nigerian tertiary hospital
Malaria remains a very important health challenge in Nigeria, particularly among children under five years of age. Definitive diagnosis is very necessary in order to ensure appropriate treatment of malaria in this vulnerable group. The study examined the diagnosis and treatment pattern of uncomplicated malaria in under-five children in the Paediatric Unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) for the period between January 2014-January, 2016. Five hundred case notes of the children who were treated from January 2014-January 2016 were examined. Data extracted include the diagnostic procedure, screening and laboratory investigation, and the pattern of prescription of antimalarial drugs in addition to the demographic information of the patients. Co-morbidities associated with malaria as well as coprescribed drugs were also investigated. Results obtained show that only 30.8% (154) of the diagnosis were based on microscopic examination of thick/thin blood film of malaria parasites. ACT drugs were found to be prescribed in 62.4% cases while the rest (37.6%) were non-ACT drugs. The prescribing of non-ACT drugs which is contrary to the current national guidelines for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria calls for urgent evaluation of treatment policy in the health facility.
Keywords: Malaria, diagnosis, under-fives, treatment pattern, ACTs