Teremsha suruali: When 'sindano' was a death sentence

[Photo: Courtesy]

It was common to hear older patients requesting doctors to prescribe injections rather than tablets. They assumed injections had a direct and immediate effect on their body compared to tablets or syrup.

But to younger patients, being prescribed injection was like a death sentence. The injection unit was a no go zone to many children who would start crying 10 kilometers from the hospital.

The cries often started at home, with a tune like; ‘mimi si mgonjwa’ hitting a crescendo as you neared the doctor’s office. It was worse if the prescription had multiple injections to be administered over a period of time.

The fact that the ‘tools of trade’ were permanently held in a boiling vessel was in itself very intimidating.

There was no way daktaris could tell if the right temperature to kill germs or bacteria had been achieved. Nurses in the injection room made matters worse by taking their time selecting the ‘longest’ needle as the patient watched in a blur of tears and full of fear.

‘Teremsha suruali’ meant it was time to attack your small butt. Skipping or dodging an injection visit was common especially with teenagers.

Little did they know they were under-dosing themselves by doing so. Thanks to a new scientific revolution. Out went the recyclable syringes, in came the disposable type.

Chances of re-infection due to mishandling of syringes has been eliminated. Levels of hygiene also improved.


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