Pharmacoeconomics: Open Access

ISSN: 2472-1042

Open Access

Treatments used for malaria in young Ethiopian children: a retrospective study


Abyot Endale Gurmu

Background: In Ethiopia, medicinal plants have been used to treat different diseases, including malaria, for many centuries. People living in rural areas are especially noted for their use of medicinal plants as a major component of their health care. This study aimed to study treatment-seeking and prioritize plants/plant recipes as anti-malarials, in Dembia district, one of the malarious districts in Northwest Ethiopia. Methods: Parents of children aged under 5 years who had had a recent episode of fever were interviewed retrospectively about their child’s treatment and self-reported outcome. Treatments and subsequent clinical outcomes were analysed using Fisher’s exact test to elicit whether there were statistically significant correlations between them. Results and discussion: Of 447 children with malaria-like symptoms, only 30% took the recommended first-line treatment (ACT) (all of whom were cured), and 47% took chloroquine (85% cured). Ninety-nine (22.2%) had used medicinal plants as their first-choice treatment. Allium sativum (Liliaceae), Justicia schimperiana (Acanthaceae), Buddleja polystachya (Scrophulariaceae) and Phytolacca dodecandra (Phytolaccaceae) were the most frequently used. Justicia schimperiana was the one associated with the best clinical outcomes (69% self-reported cure rate). However, the difference in clinical outcomes between the plants was not statistically significant. Conclusion: In this study, only 30% of children took the recommended first-line treatment. 22% of children with presumed malaria were first treated with herbal medicines. The most commonly used herbal medicine was garlic, but J. schimperiana was associated with the highest reported cure rate of the plants. Further research is warranted to investigate its anti-malarial properties.


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