Seven-year-old Jeremiah Tenywa has been in pain for over three years due to an injection, which was meant to cure his malaria, but instead turn his life to a misery.
Tenywa, a Primary One pupil at Little Muheji Primary school, Kampala developed what doctors described as a post injection paralysis in 2009 after his mother Esther Nabirye took him to a small clinic in Nansana, Wakiso district where he was diagnosed with malaria. He was injected on the buttocks with quinine medicine. That is when the problem started.
“Upon reaching home, the boy could hardly stand and I immediately took him back to the clinic and reported to the doctor that my child was developing a disability,” Esther narrates.
Nabirye says she got confused and did not know what to do because her son was slowly developing disability. She was advised to take Tenywa to Katalemwa Chesire Home for treatment.
Emmanuel Ssekidde, a psychiatric nursing officer at Katalemwa Chesire Home, explains that Tenywa was injected in the muscles instead of the vain, which left right his leg lame.
“Quinine can cause paralysis if accidentally injected into a nerve or muscle. Stop using quinine and call your doctor if you have serious side effects,” Ssekidde said.
Speaking at a press conference organized by Community Health and Information Network (CHAIN) at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, Ssekidde said that in a month the home receives 60 patients whose disability has been cause by injections.
He added that, apart from diseases that affect children such as malaria, unsafe use of medicines and wrongly administered injections are the leading causes of disabilities at the home.
However, he said that the disability can be corrected if the patient is taken to the hospital early enough.
Regina Namatta the project coordinator of CHAIN said half of the patient in the country failed to use medicine correctly resulting in wastage of scarce resources, development of disease resistance and widespread health hazards.
“The practice of unsafe use of medicine is a global public health problem causing death, disability and injury to many adults, children and unborn babies,” she said.
Namatta said the most common abused medicines are antibiotics. He said the situation is worsened further by the fact that majority of the private outlets are manned by unqualified medical personnel. Furthermore, patients attending private clinics that are managed by qualified personnel do not always get sufficient information on how to use their medicine safely once discharged.
Ruth Mukiibi is a victim of unsafe medicine. Last year she miscarried after being prescribed Cipiophelaxine for a urinary tract infection, despite the drug being harmful for pregnant women.
After she miscarried, Mukiibi says she went back to the doctor whom she did not want to name. He apologized and admitted he had given her medicine that is not supposed to be given to expectant mothers.
“The doctor told me that he was sorry that he had killed my baby, I wouldn’t have taken Cipiophelaxine while pregnant,” she said.