Antenna’s Medicines Unit has been conducting clinical studies validating the efficiency of sugar administered under the tongue to treat hypoglycaemia in children with severe malaria since 2008, notably with Malian colleagues. The studies have shown that this technique brings the blood sugar level back to normal in less than 20 minutes in 50% of cases, which is as fast and effective as an infusion or naso-gastric tube, less invasive and more easily available.
After being taken up in a WHO guide, this recommendation on the use of sublingual sugar to correct hypoglycaemia caused by malaria has now been included in guidelines by Médecins sans Frontières. It took almost ten years for the idea to become a scientific study and published recommendation.
After the research in children with malaria, the question arose whether sublingual sugar could also be used in other situations where children were in serious danger due to hypoglycaemia. Therefore, this year the Medicines Unit started evaluating the effectiveness of sublingual sugar for the treatment of hypoglycaemia in severely malnourished children in 5 hospitals and 2 health centres, together with colleagues in the Gondar region of Ethiopia. If the results are positive, it will be possible to treat the children more quickly and in remoter areas.