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"Maitai C.K., Njoroge D.K., Abuga K.O. , Mwaura A.M., Munenge R.W. Investigation of possible antidotal effects of activated charcoal, sodium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate in zinc phosphide poisoning." East Cent. Afr. J. Pharm. Sci. 2002;5(2):38-41. AbstractWebsite

Zinc phosphide, a commonly used rat poison in Kenya was mixed with maize flour in a concentration of 0.15% w/w and fed to a group of 60 experimental mice for 3 hours. The mice were then randomly divided into 5 equal groups A, B, C, D and E. To groups A, B, C and D was administered activated charcoal (3% w/v), sodium bicarbonate (10% w/v), hydrogen peroxide(0.5% v/v) and potassium permanganate (1:5000) respectively. Group E was given 1 ml distilled water and used as control. All five groups were observed for symptoms of toxicity, often culminating in death. The observations were continued over a period of 36 hours. Results of the experiment showed that all for test substances minimized the lethal effect of zinc phosphide. Although no attempt was made to quantify the antidotal effect of the 4 substances, activated charcoal appeared to have a higher effect than the others, while potassium permanganate had a low rating.

Mukungu NA, Abuga KO, Okalebo FO, Ingwela RT, Mwangi JW. "Medicinal plants used for management of malaria among the Luhya community of Kakamega East sub-County, Kenya." Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2016;194 :98-107. Abstract


Malaria remains a major health problem worldwide especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, 80% of the population is at risk of contracting the disease. Pregnant mothers and children under five years are the most affected by this disease. Antimalarial drug resistance poses a major threat in the fight against malaria necessitating continuous search for new antimalarial drugs. Due to inadequate and inaccessible health facilities, majority of people living in rural communities heavily depend on traditional medicine which involves the use of medicinal plants for the management of malaria. Most of these indigenous knowledge is undocumented and risks being lost yet such information could be useful in the search of new antimalarial agents.

Aim of study

An ethnobotanical survey was carried out among the Luhya community of Kakamega East sub-County, a malaria epidemic region, with the aim of documenting the plants used in the management of malaria.

Materials and methods

Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect information from 21 informants who included traditional medicine practitioners and other caregivers who had experience in use of plants in management of malaria. These were drawn from 4 villages located in Kakamega East sub-county, within Kakamega County based on their differences in topography. Information recorded included plant names, parts used, mode of preparation and administration and the sources of plant materials. A literature search was conducted using PubMed and google scholar to identify the reported traditional uses of these plants and studied antiplasmodial activities.


In this study, 57% of the informants were aged above 50 years and a total of 61% had either no formal education or had only attained primary school education. A total of 42 plant species belonging to 24 families were identified. Most plants used in the management of malaria in this community belonged to Lamiaceae (18%), Leguminosae (9%) and Compositae (9%) plant families. Plants mostly used included Melia azedarach L, Aloe spp, Ajuga integrifolia Buch. Ham, Vernonia amygdalina Del., Rotheca myricoides (Hochst.) Steane and Mabb, Fuerstia africana T.C.E.Fr., Zanthoxylum gilletii (De Wild.) P.G.Waterman and Leucas calostachys Oliv. Rumex steudelii Hochst.ex A. Rich and Phyllanthus sepialis Müll. Arg are reported for the first time in the management of malaria. Although Clerodendrum johnstonii Oliv. ( Jeruto et al., 2011) and Physalis peruviana L.(Ramadan et al., 2015) are reported in other studies for management of malaria, no studies have been carried out to demonstrate their antiplasmodial activity.
The plant parts mostly used were the leaves (36%) and stem barks (26%). Majority of these plants were prepared as decoctions by boiling and allowed to cool before administration (66%) while infusions accounted for 28% of the preparations. The literature mined supports the use of these plants for the management of malaria since most of them have demonstrated in-vitro and in-vivo antiplasmodial activities.


Most of the reported plant species in this study have been investigated for antiplasmodial activity and are in agreement with the ethnomedical use. Two (2) plants are reported for the first time in the management of malaria. There is need for documentation and preservation of the rich ethnomedical knowledge within this community given that most of the practitioners are advanced in age and less educated. There is also the danger of over-exploitation of plant species as most of them are obtained from the wild, mainly Kakamega forest. Therefore, there is need for determining the economically and medicinally important plants in this community and planning for their preservation.

Ongarora D, Karumbi J, Minnaard W, Abuga K, Okungu V, Kibwage I. "Medicine prices, availability, and affordability in private health facilities in low-income settlements in Nairobi county, Kenya." Pharmacy. 2019;7(2):40. Abstract

Medicine prices are a major determinant of access to healthcare. Owing to low availability of medicines in the public health facilities and poor accessibility to these facilities, most low-income residents pay out-of-pocket for health services and transport to the private health facilities. In low-income settlements, high retail prices are likely to push the population further into poverty and ill health. This study assessed the retail pricing, availability, and affordability of medicines in private health facilities in low-income settlements within Nairobi County. Medicine prices and availability data were collected between September and December 2016 at 45 private healthcare facilities in 14 of Nairobi’s low-income settlements using electronic questionnaires. The International Medical Products Price Guide provided international medicine reference prices for comparison. Affordability and availability proxies were calculated according to existing methods. Innovator brands were 13.8 times more expensive than generic brands. The lowest priced generics and innovator brands were, on average, sold at 2.9 and 32.6 times the median international reference prices of corresponding medicines. Assuming a 100% disposable income, it would take 0.03 to 1.33 days’ wages for the lowest paid government employee to pay for treatment courses of selected single generic medicines. Medicine availability in the facilities ranged between 2% and 76% (mean 43%) for indicator medicines. Prices of selected medicines varied within the 14 study regions. Retail medicine prices in the low-income settlements studied were generally higher than corresponding international reference prices. Price variations were observed across different regions although the regions comprise similar socioeconomic populations. These factors are likely to impact negatively on healthcare access.

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