Introduction Tungiasis (sand flea disease or jigger infestation) is a neglected tropical disease caused by penetration of female sand fleas, Tunga penetrans, in the skin. The disease inflicts immense pain and suffering on millions of people, particularly children, in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, there is no standard treatment for tungiasis, and a simple, safe and effective tungiasis treatment option is required. Tea tree oil (TTO) has long been used as a parasiticidal agent against ectoparasites such as headlice, mites and fleas with proven safety and efficacy data. However, current data are insufficient to warrant a recommendation for its use in tungiasis. This trial aims to generate these data by comparing the safety and efficacy of a 5% (v/w) TTO proprietary gel formulation with 0.05% (w/v) potassium permanganate (KMnO4) solution for tungiasis treatment.Methods and analysis This trial is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in primary schools (n=8) in South-Western Kenya. The study will include school children (n=88) aged 6–15 years with a confirmed diagnosis of tungiasis. The participants will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive a 3-day two times a day treatment of either 5% TTO gel or 0.05% KMnO4 solution. Two viable embedded sandflea lesions per participant will be targeted and the viability of these lesions will be followed throughout the study using a digital handheld microscope. The primary outcome is the proportion of observed viable embedded sand fleas that have lost viability (non-viable lesions) by day 10 (9 days after first treatment). Secondary outcomes include improvement in acute tungiasis morbidities assessed using a validated severity score for tungiasis, safety assessed through adverse events and product acceptability assessed by interviewing the participants to rate the treatment in terms of effectiveness, side effects, convenience, suitability and overall satisfaction.Ethics and dissemination The trial protocol has been reviewed and approved by the University of Canberra Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC-2019-2114). The findings of the study will be presented at scientific conferences and published in a peer-reviewed journal.Trial registration numbers Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12619001610123); PACTR202003651095100 and U1111-1243-2294.
Most of the plants used by herbalists amongst the various Kenyan communities have not been documented despite their widespread use. The purpose of this research was to document the medicinal plants used by the herbalists from the Maasai, a community that still relies on herbal medicine to a large extent for the provision of medical services. Semistructured interviews, direct observations, group discussions, and in-depth interviews were used to collect information from the traditional healers. A total of 47 plant species belonging to 31 families were identified. They were used in the treatment of 33 medical and 4 veterinary conditions.
The right to access essential medicines and medical technologies is crucial to attain the highest-quality health care for all citizens of the world. Unfortunately, in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) around the world, patients’ ability to access quality essential medicines still remains a critical challenge. Barriers that impact the quality of essential medicines from chronic communicable and chronic non-communicable diseases lie within three specific areas (3A’s): availability, accountability, and adherence. First, unnecessarily complex supply chain management, poor operational procedures, and inadequate financing for health lead to low availability of medicines. Second, corruption contributes to falsified and substandard medicines and low accountability of the supply chain to the patients who rely on it. Lastly, poor patient adherence to medicines is affected by low health literacy, lack of communication between providers and patients, and social stigma of diseases. Based on our on-the-ground experiences working in western Kenya, we propose solutions that target each of these challenges to improve access and quality of medicines. Through this chapter, we hope to compel chemists to apply and focus their efforts to create transformative chemical techniques with the potential to significantly improve quality of medicines, to improve patient outcomes, and to alter the delivery of care to patients all over the world.