The word brings a fear factor to many. Indeed it is a deadly disease when it goes untreated. Sometimes a pupil comes back to school after a day off saying they had malaria- I have always been skeptical, even more so now.
I write this from a hospital ward where my wife has been admitted overnight and is on a drip. The ultimate cause – malaria!
It all started last Thursday when Anita woke up in the middle of the night with flu-like symptoms and feeling very chill. Remember we live on the equator where it does not ever really get cold. In the morning she went in to work and was sent home again. Then the fever started – we did a Malaria test using a kit, but it was negative. As the weekend wore on the fevers and chills became more intense until by Monday we went out and bought our own Malaria testing kit. A definite positive -so off to the local medical clinic (it is always wise to check yourself before going to the clinic as malaria is a common diagnosis – hence the pupils off for a day!).
Actually our local clinic is good and we trust the doctor – he confirmed malaria and prescribed medication. Anita, by now very feverish and weak was admitted for a few hours to give her fluids and medication.
Back home and medication in hand we were to return each day at 4pm for anti-malarial injections.
So today we returned, but instead of a routine injection we found her blood pressure had dropped to 50/30 – a lack of fluids and food bring a major contributing factor.
So here I sit on the ward. Anita on a drip – admitted for 24 hours.
Malaria is a nasty disease – much worse than anything I have seen before. With rest and medication she will recover, due to swift medical treatment. Many across this continent have no such option and will die of the disease – a sobering thought
Each night before turning in we put it down. Each morning when we get up we put it up.
The mosquito net.
Living in Africa there is the ever present risk of contracting Malaria and so precautions are necessary. It’s a matter of routine.
We stopped taking anti-malarial drugs fairly early on – the risk to the body of long term use is far greater than the risk of contracting the disease. With suitable precautions it should not be an issue.
Malaria is a disease carried by the female of just one species of mosquito (Anopheles) and thee are many different species of mosquito. Furthermore you have to have been bitten by a mosquito which has recently bitten someone with Malaria.
Here in town and working in a school this is highly unlikely that this will happen. With good health malaria is not nice, but it is not a killer either. The use of repellant (DEET), a fan (mosquitoes like still air) and a net combine to reduce the risk at night.
A mosquito net covers the bed. Our net is attached to a frame suspended from the ceiling. This is a bit of a pain as it is a little small for the bed – it is stretched a little bit works provided the bed is not moved. Our net is not walk-in nor does it surround the bed as some do. This means we need to put it up and down which can be a pain.
A better option we will consider soon is attaching a T-bone to either end of the bed (a T-shaped piece of wood at both ends) and suspending a net from this. If the arms of the “T” are long enough it should surround the bed more effectively.
For now our net keeps us safe each night.
Four days on and showing little signs of improvement both Anita and Bex are back at the Doc. A different doctor at the recommendation of colleagues and hopefully one who knows his stuff a little better.
The problem here is that some doctors are less reliable. They tend to diagnose Malaria and UTI for everyone regardless of their conditions. There maybe some sort of kickback from the drugs companies. Either way Anita has ‘malaria’ and Bex has ‘UTI’, ‘malaria’ and amoeba infection. One or all may or may not be true, but as Anita is still washed out and Bex a raging headache and dizziness to replace the stomach cramps – it’s time for a second opinion. They certainly don’t want to be taking unnecessary drugs and missing out on the necessary ones.
- has not got Amoeba Infection
- should not have been prescribed one of her drugs – long term use would be dangerous.
- has got a UTI and Gastritis
- has not got Malaria
- has got a UTI
All in all the previous doctor got it almost completely wrong. Today’s doctor gave a significantly better experience – UK standard (yes the UK does have an NHS to be proud of!)
For local expats – Bio Health Clinic is the place to go and Dr Mubarak the doctor to see!