The unseasonal weather has increased the mosquito population around the airfield - and with it the risk of Malaria...
Last week, Patricia was working in the MoM office when, suddenly, she started shaking and the next thing we knew she was curled up on the apron, in the sun,saying she felt ill - really ill. There was no need for blood tests, but there was a need to act swiftly - it was clearly a case of Malaria. We put her on the best medication we have, and the next day she fared much better. Within 4 days, she was full back to normal.
Last night, I woke up at 11pm, and as I got out of bed my whole body started to shake, I could barely walk - my body was boiling to the touch, the sweat pouring down my skin as if I was in the shower - a power shower. Immediately I started the Malaria course, and less than 24 hours later am on the mend.
We hold Malaria treatments on site. We take them as soon as we have the symptoms. The cost of one course is about $10. Sadly, so many people cannot afford this. When the majority of people are earning less than $100 per month, $10 is a lot of money. Put it into perspective, let us say that you earn $2,000 per month, how would you feel at just starting a $200+ course of tablets?
For us, we know the importance of early treatment to avoid complications (remember nearly 50% of all hospital admissions in Ghana have malaria as a component...). Malaria is unpleasant, it takes you down FAST. You can be right as rain, then get a bit of a headache, perhaps some joint pains, and then you are a shivering, sweaty mess.
So many people fail to understand the importance of prompt treatment, and sadly many are often struggling to afford the treatment.
For short term visitors there are prophylaxis treatments that help to prevent Malaria, but for those living here, you build up a certain resistance - but when it hits you, you have to treat it fast - if you can afford to - and, of course, not everybody keeps treatments to hand for middle of the night episodes.