allAfrica.com: Tanzania: Why You May Not Be Responding to TreatmentPosted: April 16, 2012
According to Dr Bosco Ruhanika, at Misenyi hospital, self medication is one of the major reasons why the recommended drugs for treating malaria are changed frequently. “When someone feels weak and experiences chills in the evenings and aches in the joints, malaria is the main suspect.
Sometimes it could be stress causing the fever. Although there several warnings are made advising patients to test for malaria before taking any medication, some people still go ahead and ignore the advice. Medical practitioners have been warned not to treat patients for malaria without confirmation from the laboratory. Dr Ruhanika says the problem is complicated further with the shortage of laboratory technicians especially in rural areas.
The country is working on getting malaria testing strips that can be used by even unqualified medical personnel. Dr Ruhanika cites an example in Ngara district where there were reports that malaria cases had reached epidemic levels. After testing a number of patients suspected to have had malaria, they found that there was a viral infection with symptoms similar to that of malaria. “Giving malaria drugs to those who don’t require it causes a resistance over time,” the practitioner asserts.