Struggling with Malaria – Support World Malaria Day

When I first arrived in Yaounde Cameroon, Anne gave me two rapid test kits and a treatment for Malaria. I put it away and thought, “why is she giving me that?” I was taking a malaria prophylactic; I brought tons of insect repellant laced with deet and I had a mosquito net. I was fortified against mosquitos. Right? Not quite.

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Every week I took my mefloquine; Every day about four in the evening I rubbed all exposed skin with deet and at night I slept under a mosquito net. I thought I was good; I thought I was totally protected. Yet, in all my traveling I too was vulnerable to malaria.

As I flew back to Yaounde from Accra Ghana on Wednesday, I began to have a dry cough. I thought it was nothing. The next day the cough was worse; I had a headache and I started feeling a little weak. I called Anne and asked her what did she think. She told me to use the rapid test kit. I tried but it calls for you to prick your finger and draw enough blood to put in a little tube. I tried three times to prick my finger. I got a drop of blood in the tube and I got a false negative. So Anne told me, if I started feeling really bad to start taking the malaria treatment. She then called June Nelson one of the missionaries in N’Gaoundere who is a nurse. They both recommended I start the treatment. So, I did. By the second day I had chills, a slight fever and a full-blown case of Malaria

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In Cameroon the drug they sale for malaria treatment is coartem. It is sold over the counter in private pharmacies and costs about $8. The cost is much less in health centers.  It was easy for me to have a treatment, but it is not easy for most people in Central and West Africa. Children die everyday in Africa because they can’t afford 25 cent doctors fees or medicine for malaria or are so far from any clinic or hospital.

I am writing this not only because of my experience, but because  Thursday, April 25 is World Malaria Day.  I would like everyone who reads my blog to give to the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

According to the ELCA website (elca.org):world_malaria_day_2013

“A child dies from malaria every 60 seconds. . . Today we are in a special moment where we could turn this around. Working though Lutheran churches in Africa, the ELCA Malaria Campaign is uniquely positioned to provide mosquito nets, insecticides, medication, health care, education and more to help eliminate deaths from this disease—for good.”

As I travel to and from the continent of Africa. I will always have to be careful about a dry cough, headaches and flu-like symptoms. They may be malaria. If I am watchful, I will catch the symptoms and be able to take medication and get on with my life. So many children in Liberia, Nigeria and other places in subsaharan Africa don’t have the same access that I have. They need all of our help. So please help.

Thank you.

I am constantly westafricabound!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Paulson Ruedisili
    Apr 23, 2013 @ 22:00:48

    I am very to sorry to hear you got malaria on your very first stay in Africa. Prayers for your recovery. I guess it helps you empathize with lots of people.

    Reply

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