As a result of the event of Philomena’s sickness, which I spoke about yesterday and how helpless I saw that the parents were, I took it upon myself to discuss with the residents association of our street.

Good for me, our landlord is the treasurer of the association. He was the first person I spoke to about the need to educate the residents of the street on Home Management of Sick Children.

Since the Philomena experience was still very fresh in his memory, he agreed to speak to the chairman. I was in the office two Fridays after our discussion, when my landlord called me, ‘akowe, good afternoon, the residents association meeting comes up tomorrow during environmental sanitation exercise. Will you be able to come and give us the talk on Home Management of Sick Children you spoke to me about? Elated, I answered excitedly, ‘I will come sir, thank you.’ ‘Ok, thank you akowe. Please see me when you return tonight.’

The next day, I was before the residents association of our street to speak on Home Management of Sick Children. I started by telling them that Home Management of Sick Children is not a substitute to seeking medical help. It is the measure or measures that we can take before we see the doctor or health worker. I have printed a small sheet of paper where I stated the basic rules. I read same to them as follows:

  • Note when a Sick child losses water and energy
  • The child requires increased food and drinks and therefore encourage a child to eat and drink plenty of fluids
  • Parents should give little at a time frequently of food and fluid
  • Clothes should be removed when the child is feverish
  • Give paracetamol and antimalarials
  • De-worm children 2 years and above every 6 months.
  • Use soothing home remedies for cough like honey and rice water
  • If fast breathing is noticed in a child consult a health worker
  • Above all please contact a health worker or doctor where there is no improvement maximum after two days after taking the self-help medical steps outlined above.

The people were very happy when I finished. They asked one or two questions which I addressed.

I hope this story teaches you basic things about home management of sickness as it relate to children. I think one lesson, which is worth being reiterated is the fact that home management is not a substitute for seeking medical attention from qualified medical practitioners. It is simply a measure that is taken where the doctor can not be reached immediately or where first aid is needed to manage the case as the custodians proceed to see medical practitioner.

My younger sister believes in self-medication of her daughter. I have had series of running battles with her on this. I keep telling her that self-medication is not the same as home management. I believe she is turning a new leave now. I must tell you that it is a very dangerous path to tread.

Think the Child! Think Today! Think the Future!

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