South Africa has said it was “considering” treating seriously ill Covid-19 patients with dexamethasone, a steroid drug that British medical scientists have hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus.
South Africa’s ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 said that administering dexamethasone intravenously for 10 days may be considered for Covid-19 patients who are on ventilator support.
In Kenya, where Covid-19 infections are surging, public health director Patrick Amoth tweeted that the dexamethasone has been used for “supportive management of Covid-19” in the country.
Dr Amoth added that dexamethasone is already included in Kenya Essential Medicines List 2019.
Nigeria has said that it will wait for the World Health Organization to clear the drug before starting its trials. In a statement on Twitter, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the government had not validated trials of dexamethasone.
A Ghanian doctor has warned patients against self-medicating using dexamethasone, saying the drug should not be used in mild Covid-19 cases.
The Ghanaian anaesthesiologist Dadzie Ghansah said that even though dexamethasone has been said to help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with Covid-19, the drug might weaken the immune system and make one more susceptible to getting a severe form of the disease.