31 January 2013

Uganda: Health Ministry Sets New Treatment Guidelines

The health ministry has released new national clinical guidelines for the management of common conditions. It also released new essential medicines and health supplies list for HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, pneumonia and diarrhoea in children.

The new development sees some medicines used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and malaria dropped from the essential medicines list.

The assistant commissioner in charge of pharmacy, Martin Oteba, said: "For treatment of diarrhoea, they have introduced a new combination, which is Zinc and ORS. We had been using ORS."

In the fight against HIV/AIDS, he said there is a new approach to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

"Based on our experience over the last 10 years, some anti-retroviral medicines have been dropped and replaced with more recent versions to make this treatment more productive," Oteba said.

Speaking at the launch of the clinical guidelines and essential medicine list at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala yesterday, Oteba said triomune-40 for the treatment of HIV/AIDS was dropped because stavudine, which is one of the components, was found to be toxic.

Triomune-40 is a combination of three drugs commonly used in the management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections.

Oteba said zidovudine combination was earlier on used and dropped, but a follow up study found that the therapy had beneficial outcomes. So, it was brought back.

For treatment of malaria, Oteba said, the ministry has included the use of artemisinin-based combinations.

He said the change was done in 2006, but was provisional and not in the guidelines.

"It has been recommended that we reduce on the use of quinine for severe malaria, but we have included artemether injection for treatment of severe malaria," Oteba said.

Speaking at the launch, general duties minister Sarah Kataike said the clinical guideline will provide information on the essential elements of clinical diagnosis and guide on required basic investigations.

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