The family of a seven-year-old child, who was allegedly given the wrong regimen of anti-retroviral treatment at The Oaks clinic in Sekororo, Limpopo, is considering legal action against the provincial Health Department.
The family says the grade one learner’s health has deteriorated since he was given the incorrect medication in October 2019.
The SABC is in possession of an audio recording of nurses at the clinic admitting their mistake and apologising to the family. He was later returned to the correct ARVs.
However, the child’s older brother, who cannot be named, is concerned.
“He takes time to respond when you call him and is very forgetful. He keeps losing weight, has constant headaches and stomach cramps. Ever since they gave him the wrong medication, he has changed. I’m concerned because I don’t know what is happening to his body.”
The Limpopo Health Department says it is investigating allegations that the child’s treatment regimen was changed abruptly.
Spokesperson Neil Shikwambana says the department did not know of the matter.
“We did not know of this issue as the department; we are only getting it now from you as journalists. However, what we will do from here is that we will have to be in contact with the family so that a thorough investigation can be taken because this is a serious complaint. So that we are able to establish the facts, which will then guide us in terms of the cause of action that we will take. We were able to peruse the file of the patient at the hospital and we indeed established that on the dates that the family alleges that the patient was admitted to hospital, he was indeed admitted.”
HIV medicine for children
Last week, during a pediatric HIV treatment webinar organised by the South African National AIDS Council (Sanac) and pharmaceutical giant, Cipla; it emerged that there’s an urgent need for new, more suitable HIV medicine for children in South Africa.
Dr Precious Garnett, marketing manager at Cipla, said the current medicines are not a perfect solution.
“For a child living with HIV in SA, they have two options of medicine. Sinethemba can’t crush the medicine to give to the baby; it needs to be swallowed whole and we know that they can be quite big and for children they are not able to swallow big tablets. So, this does become a challenge. So, if Sinethemba’s baby can’t take the tablets, the only other option that’s available is the bitter medicine and this medicine is bitter because it contains up to 42% alcohol.”
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