Comm Eye Health Vol. 14 No. 38 2001 pp 29. Published online 01 June 2001.

Letters to the Editor. Chloroquine

Dr Gloria Patrick-Ferife

University of Pretoria, PO Box 607, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

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Dear Editor

A Cause for Concern

The recent decision by some African countries to initiate the ‘Roll Back Malaria’ programme (RBM) is a good one, especially with the increasing number of deaths from malaria and its complications.

The idea of allowing presumed malaria sufferers to buy chloroquine across the counter, by making the dosage regimen available to everyone, is however a cause for concern. I foresee chloroquine replacing analgesics for relief of mild aches and pains. This definitely may result in abuse of the drug, resulting in its accumulation in the body, which may cause visual impairment.

The RBM programme should not run as a vertical programme. Instead, it should be incorporated into the already existing primary health care system; thus, chloroquine will only be given in health centres, where staff who are aware of its complications are resent.