Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: Literacy – Footsteps 16

How to increase the desire for literacy and develop literacy at community level

Following a recent eye health tour in Uganda, a group of experts (Drs Sandford-Smith, Hall, Waddell and Mattus) have been concerned to discover the abuse of chloroquine. Most health workers keep stocks of chloroquine to treat malaria. The drug is cheap, easy to obtain and very effective. However, what is not so widely known is that if high doses of this drug are taken over a long period of time, then eyesight is damaged. The damage is very gradual and slight at first. However, there is no treatment to reverse this damage (known as chloroquine retinopathy). It is permanent, and if high doses of chloroquine continue to be taken, vision can be severely affected.

Dr Brian Fleck comments that health workers who are giving out the correct doses of chloroquine to patients with malaria need have no fear. Chloroquine is an excellent drug - but, like any drug, it can be abused. People should be aware that it should only be taken for short periods at the correct dose. Unfortunately the team discovered that in Uganda people were using it to treat all kinds of illnesses just because it is so cheap and readily available. The team recommended that, in future, bottles should contain a warning label: excess use can damage the sight.

Adapted from an article in Community Eye Health Issue No 9.

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Sign up now to get Footsteps magazine

Cover of Footsteps 112: Communicable diseases

A free digital and print magazine for community development workers. Covering a diverse range of topics, it is published three times a year.

Sign up now