1. WHAT DID WE FIND?
The most common complaints for children visiting the clinic were general influenza symptoms including cough, fever, runny nose, vomiting and/or diarrhea. The current practice was to give most of these cases a 7-10 day regiment of antibiotics and paracetamol for fever. However, most conditions with these symptoms do not require antibiotics, as they are often viral illnesses. The focus of Dr. Hawkes’ training was on teaching the staff to ask more questions and complete an examination to deduce whether the illness is viral or bacterial, and how serious it is. Part of this training utilized guidelines from the WHO on finding the likely cause of fever in children and treating it, including examining children for respiratory distress, which greatly changes the treatment plan for a child.
Resources for diagnosing and treating these conditions are relatively simple and not expensive. Access to otolaryngoscopes in the clinic and outreach are valuable to examine ears, nose and throat for signs of infection. Less antibiotics and more multivitamins, paracetamol and oral rehydration salts to give to children with viral illnesses would also be useful.