A simple drug, given to children with severe malaria before they reach hospital, has the potential to save many lives, say researchers in this week's British Medical Journal.
Every year over a million children die of malaria in
Conventional treatment, given by injection, is not possible to administer outside hospitals, so buying time by starting treatment which is easy to administer in the community is crucial.
They found the two treatments broadly comparable and suggest that rectal artemether could be used to treat severe malaria where qualified staff and equipment for intravenous therapy is not available.
These are encouraging results, say experts in an accompanying editorial. Although a single trial of this size cannot alone be the basis for policy change, rectal artemisinins might be one safe and effective way to reduce the risk of children dying before reaching a hospital.
Providing effective antimalarial treatment close to home to reduce delay has the potential to save many lives, they conclude.
Source: British Medical Journal