Monday 9 November 2015


Most mums mean well, but sometimes our meaning-well has the potential to expose our loved ones to peril. There is a very dangerous habit many of us Nigerians have imbibed ; drug abuse. When I found out some mums also engage in that I was moved to tears. The other day, I saw a mum giving her 3+ years old daughter 2 tablets of our 500mg paracetamol, I screamed and asked her why, she said the recommended half or one tablet has no effect on her, another mum came for her 3 months old daughter's vaccination and the little girl's cloths were stained with a yellowish substance, she said it was the colour of the malaria drugs she gave her daughter which she threw up. I asked her the name of the drug she named an adult malaria drug and added for good measure how she split it into two to give her daughter. I was gobsmacked. After vaccinations you'd hear some mums advising others to give the baby half a paracetamol tablet.
For heaven's sake there are specific drugs meant for kids, designed for their tender organs and tissues. It's bad enough that we have fake and substandard drugs to deal with, adding drug abuse especially for our babies worsens the whole thing. Some health workers also play a significant role in this. A woman who just gave birth in a very good hospital was discharged without giving her drugs for her baby only for an experienced midwife to complain about the "oversabi" and half-bred doctors and went ahead to prescribe ampiclox (a brand of antibiotics) , Abidec (a brand of multivitamins) among other drugs saying the baby needs them.

Please Informed mum (and dad too) if you must give your child any drug, let it be the one meant for children his/her age and at the dosage recommended by a qualified doctor, preferably a paediatrician. It took years of different phases of clinical research to arrive at a recommended dose. People tend to say "but the one I've given hasn't killed the child", it doesn't have to kill the child, at least not immediately . You could be exposing the child to chronic poisoning, could be weakening the child's kidney, liver and other organs. We have so many tropical diseases to contend with, adding poisoning and organ failure to the list is horrible especially as we do not have the best of healthcare systems. The very people who produce and research into those drugs advocate as drug-free a life as possible. Drugs should only be taken when it's advantages trump the attendant disadvantages. That's why many people tend to embrace alternatives to medicine.

I would also classify those who give their kids herbal concoctions as drug abusers as well. Traditional medicine now booms in Nigeria, some mums will tell you "oyibo no dey treat this one" and go ahead to reel out traditional drugs for the particular ailment being discussed. The side effects of most of those drugs are unknown. Much as I appreciate traditional medicine, I feel we've not done in depth clinical research on those plants parts we believe are medicinal. Before a drug is approved for use, it goes through different phases of clinical research. Hardly has any of our magic plant parts gone through that.
Please let's be wary of what we expose our little ones to. I advocate all drugs for kids be prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists, including the over-the-counter ones. Let's join hands and say no to drug abuse, especially in kids.

May we never expose our little ones to peril.

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