Some, if not many of us come down with the typical symptoms of malaria; general body weakness, fever, headache and so forth; in fact everyone has a way of identifying that they are suffering from malaria. The first course of action is a dash into the pharmacy to get themselves their most convenient antimalarial. For others, they might go to a laboratory to get tested or go to a hospital.
And because these symptoms have been around for so long, even if the tests come out negative, the medical personnel will most likely advise on a dose of antimalarials. This is because symptoms speak out for an underlying infestation.
The commonest cause of malaria in Uganda is a microorganism called Plasmodium Falciparum but this is however, not the only one. I recently encountered a patient who specifically asked for chloroquine. For most people with these requests, it is probably the lack of information or they are cost cutting.
So usually, it is prudent to explain to them that chloroquine is no longer effective against the malaria we have in the country.
He insisted so on further inquisition, he said that he had several trips to the doctor’s and been admitted over this malaria and his system had been clogged with antimalarials for over a year plus.
None seemed to work until a new doctor on further reading suggested he take chloroquine because he suspected the causative organism was Plasmodium malarie and not falciparum.
The chloroquine had relieved his symptoms and he hadn’t felt any until now, which was about three weeks from when he last took treatment.
This reoccurrence most likely eliminated malarie and now introduced new microorganisms called Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium vivax as the causative organisms. This is because after the initial infection, the sleeping forms of these organism remain dormant in the liver and come out in intervals normally of three weeks from the last infection but this could even go on after years.
The writer is a pharmacist