Posted 23 September 2016
KwaZulu Natal health boss warns: Don’t use herbal enemas
Nivashni Nair | 23 September, 2016
Children in KwaZulu-Natal are suffering from medical complications after being given herbal enemas.
Provincial health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Friday issued a stern warning about the dangers of using herbal enemas for the treatment of ailments in children.
The department said the warning followed a spike in the number of children arriving at healthcare facilities with complications after being given the treatment in recent months.
“In certain households, enemas are used to treat, among others, constipation, diarrhoea and vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal stool colour or for bowel-cleansing,” the department said in a statement.
Dhlomo warned that some enemas produce strong herbal toxins that are dangerous to the rectum and internal organs.
He also noted that they are not examined for safety and regulated by the Medical Control Council under the Medical Control Act. This relates to the strength, ingredients, expiry date, as well as the mode of delivery.
“We are extremely concerned by what has been happening, and encourage parents and guardians of all sick children to rather come to health facilities if the children are sick, so that they can be treated. This includes adults themselves,” Dhlomo said.
He advised that for mild diarrhoea mothers or caregivers can give a child a mixture of sugar-salt solution, which is made up of eight level teaspoons of sugar, with a teaspoon of salt in a litre of boiled then cooled water.
This home remedy is outlined in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses Guidelines developed by the World Health Organization.
“We encourage mothers and caregivers – particularly gogos (elderly women) not to give herbal enemas to children, because these have been found to be dangerous.”
In cases of mild diarrhoea, if a child’s condition does not improve after using the sugar-salt solution, the mother or caregiver must take the child to the clinic immediately.