Thursday, January 21, 2010


shukrawar singh was brought by his mother to the clinic at semariya last saturday with cough, vomiting and "red eyes" for five days. he is four years old, and from aurapani village.
what he has is a common (though poorly recognised) complication of whooping cough (pertussis) - one coughs so violently that the small blood vessels in the eye under the conjunctiva burst. it is usually harmless and the blood is resorbed in a few days if the cough can be controlled. what is indicates is the severity of the cough.
these children may also have pneumonia (which shukrawar did), and all of them most certainly will slip into worse malnutrition than they started with: the intense and prolonged coughing spells tire them out and also prevent them from eating.
he was given antibiotics for the pneumonia, and codeine to suppress the cough. the cough can last for several weeks.

needless to say, no government ANM has ever visited his village to immunize children.
he had received polio drops, however.