As a child growing up in poverty in the rural Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, Moses Murandu was used to having salt literally rubbed in his wounds when he fell and cut himself. On lucky days, though, his father had enough money to buy something which stung the boy much less than salt: sugar.
Murandu always noticed that sugar seemed to help heal wounds more quickly than no treatment at all. So he was surprised when, having been recruited to come to work as a nurse for the UK’s National Health System (NHS) in 1997, he found that sugar wasn’t being used in any official capacity. He decided to try to change that.
Now, Murandu’s idea finally is being taken seriously. A senior lecturer in adult nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, Murandu completed an initial pilot study focussed on sugar’s applications in wound healing and won an award from the Journal of Wound Care in March 2018 for his work.
In some parts of the world, this procedure could be key because people cannot afford antibiotics. But there is interest in the UK, too, since once a wound is infected, it sometimes won’t respond to antibiotics.
To treat a wound with sugar, all you do, Murandu says, is pour the sugar on the wound and apply a bandage on top. The granules soak up any moisture that allows bacteria to thrive. Without the bacteria, the wound heals more quickly.