Busia children battling paralysis get supported

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Child
Child
Spining

One of the children admitted to Nairobi Hospital Friday after an injection at a dispensary in Busia County. Some 28 children got the injection and have now been partially paralysed. The injection was meant to treat malaria. PHOTO:EDWARD KIPLIMO/STANDARD

One of the children admitted to Nairobi Hospital Friday after an injection at a dispensary in Busia County. Some 28 children got the injection and have now been partially paralysed. The injection was meant to treat malaria. PHOTO:EDWARD KIPLIMO/STANDARD

In a meeting held Friday at the hospital where the children and their parents were admitted, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia assured them that they would get appropriate treatment to ensure they are whole again.

The children?s case was highlighted a fortnight ago in the media after their parents protested the paralysis following treatment for malaria at a local health centre in Busia.

?Our initial investigations point towards medical malpractice from inappropriate injection techniques as the primary cause of partial paralysis in all the 28 children,? Mr Macharia said in a news meeting with Nairobi Hospital chief executive Cleopa Mailu and the medical team to take care of the children.

Medical malpractice is defined as a conduct that is below the reasonable accepted standard expected of a medical practitioner while in the course of administering treatment to patients. Mr Macharia allayed fears that the cause of the paralysis was defective drugs saying the cases have been rated as either mild, moderate or severe.

Therapy

Initial tests have also ruled out polio as the cause of paralysis.

And in the next three weeks, the children will receive treatment ranging from drugs, physiotherapy and rehabilitative care depending on the severity of paralysis with those with moderate expected to be in hospital for two to three days whereas the mild will be treated for about one week.

In an interview with The Standard on Saturday, Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri said the children will be treated three-fold by a multidisciplinary team comprising pediatricians, psychologists, physiotherapists and nutritionists.

?The children have acute neuritis of the sciatic nerve from an injection to the muscles and to restore functionality, electric muscle stimulation will be given alongside nerve prompts of the sciatic nerve which supplies to the lower limbs. Nutrition therapy will also be provided to some of the children who are malnourished,? Dr Muraguri said. ?In the next seven days we anticipate that at least half of the children will be discharged while the others will be home a fortnight later,? he added.

However, he said there would be a review on the training of nurses countrywide and future engagement with health teams countrywide to find out whether health workers are updated on treatment guidelines for various conditions.

?The nurse who treated these children showed limited knowledge on the treatment guidelines for malaria in children because Quinine was the wrong drug to give in undiluted format and in case where the malaria was not severe,? said Muraguri adding the nurse had been interdicted but ongoing investigations would further look at knowledge and practice gaps of health workers.

The site of injection for the children, at the buttocks, was also found inappropriate for the children, all aged below ten. Initial reports showed that the 28 children were treated at Akichelesit and Moding health Centres and St Mary?s Chelemu Mission in Busia County.

The children had partial paralysis arising from injection treatment given in the six months between December 2014 and June this year though those with severe paralysis reported initial complaints after treatment in 2013.

By Joy Wanja Muraya, The Standard

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