This time last year I was in southern Africa. I was not too worried about the violence in some of the places I was going to. Or the amount of travelling to far and strange places. But the one thing I was quite worries about was Malaria. Each year, there are approximately 350–500 million cases of malaria, killing between 1 and 3 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are young children and the poor.
I was lucky, I had the correct prophylactic drug
and I could afford them. I was shocked at the expense of good Antimalarials.
There are cheep ones, but reading about the conta indications of these cheep drugs, I would rather risk Malaria than lose my mind or hair by taking these cheep Anti-Malarial drugs. I am not surprised that so many people lose there life in Africa due to Malaria. People just cant afford the good medication and don’t want to run the risk of side affects. I cant say I blame them.
But the risk is very real! The other day I was informed that Ian, who took over from me with North Star South Africa, has some how caught Malaria. It was likely he caught it in Kenya but he could have got it in Malwai/ Zimbabwe or even Zambia. He like many others that live in Africa did not take prophylactic drugs to keep him safe from Malaria. I guess this is the price one pays for being a humanitarian in Africa and you do not take the correct precautions. Ian is lucky – he has been to the doctors and confirmed he does have Malaria. He can afford good treatment so he should be fine.
Malaria is a bit like an airborne AIDS. You can do as much as you can to protect your self but if the little blighters (Mosquito’s ) bite you and they have Malaria and you not on prophylactic’s its just as bad as having unprotected sex with someone with HIV. Granted if you can get the treatment you will live a long and normal life. But like HIV, Malaria is for life too. It will always be in your system.
So my warning to you is if your going to be in a Malaria area take the drugs! Yes they may taste bad but hell its miles better than being stuck in bed with a fever! A small price to pay I would say.