Friday February 1 2013

Researchers say antibiotics good for malnourished kids

The patient at Iganga Hospital

The patient at Iganga Hospital. PHOTO BY YAZID YOLISIGIRA 

By Sarah Tumwebaze

Giving antibiotics and nutritional treatment to children with acute malnutrition, increases their recovery rates and decrease mortality, a new study released yesterday, has shown.

The study titled, Antibiotics as Part of the Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition, is intended to show that severe malnutrition often involves more than lack of food and that feeding alone may not cure it.

The study by scientists from Washington University between 2009 and2011 in Malawi, involved 2,767 children with acute malnutrition.

Overall, 88.3 per cent of the children recovered from acute malnutrition.
Severe malnutrition contributes to one million deaths globally among children every year. In Uganda, it accounts for 40 per cent of child deaths.
The primary treatment for severe malnutrition has been based on inpatient rehabilitation with fortified milk.

More recommendations
However, new guidelines recommend ready-to-use therapeutic food which includes peanut paste, milk powder, oil, sugar among others.

“But despite the better outcomes observed with this revised outpatient regimen, 10 to 15 per cent of children still do not recover, even in the context of rigorously controlled clinical trials,” the study indicates.

A 2012 study in Uganda revealed that stunting, which results from malnutrition in early childhood, affects productivity in adulthood.
Mr Alex Mokori a researcher and nutritionist with Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care (RDQHC) said in 2009, Uganda lost about Shs559b in future productivity from childhood stunting.

Ms Brenda Namugumya a public nutrition specialist with RCQHC explained that malnutrition kills and makes disease severe.
“The high level of malnutrition in Uganda cost the government and families millions of shillings per year to treat preventable diseases.”