Buying time to save a life with artesunate rectal capsules

Akullo Conny with her daughter speaking with doctors  in  Uganda - Photo: Emmanuel Museruka/MMV

Akullo Conny lives with her little daughter Aboli Patricia in Oyam, Northern Uganda. Mother and daughter love to be in each other’s company and often share domestic chores. However, it was not long ago that Akullo almost lost her only child to an episode of severe malaria.

One night, Akullo woke up to the cries of Aboli who was convulsing and had a burning fever. Akullo was overcome with fear and remembered thinking that her daughter might be dying. She rushed her to the community health worker, who quickly diagnosed that Aboli was suffering from severe malaria and administered artesunate rectal capsules. “The quick actions of the health worker helped lower the fever and the convulsions stopped soon after,” recalls Akullo.

Though the administration of artesunate rectal capsules brought immediate relief to Aboli, the community health worker urged Akullo to take her daughter to the nearest town hospital to ensure full treatment for severe malaria. Upon reaching the hospital, Aboli was taken to the children’s ward and started on IV treatment: over the course of her 24-hour stay, she received three doses of injectable artesunate followed by a three-day treatment with an oral artemisinin-based combination therapy. Soon after completion of the parenteral treatment, Aboli’s health improved significantly, and she was able to return home with her mother.

Akullo says, “These medicines saved my daughter’s life. After my experience, I am encouraging fellow mothers to take their children to the community health workers when they notice symptoms of severe malaria, and then follow the referral advice to go to a hospital for further treatment.”

Today, Aboli is a healthy and happy girl who continues to love playing outdoors and being in the company of her mother.