I Thought Malaria Was Normal

I Thought Malaria Was Normal

It will be a futile effort trying to count the number of times I’ve heard malaria or been treated of malaria in my lifetime not when there is no automated medical record. Well because this is the case, I almost thought malaria is a norm, like you have malaria, so? That’s like saying you are tired, it’s not strange.

Sometimes ago while I was at the university, I was at the hospital to complain about malaria and in my mind and body language, I was taking it seriously. I was shaking of cold and high temperature. When I found myself before the Doctor, he just responded: “what’s the big deal with you, is it not just malaria you are having and you are this way”. Did you notice the qualifier “just” malaria. Well since then, I treated malaria as “just”, no big deal, have malaria, take medication and be fine.

Until recently as I was reading the book “The Bright Continent” by Dayo Olopade. In one of her stories, she recounted the story of how she got her first malaria in the year 2011. 2011, are you kidding me? Since birth, no record of malaria? Is malaria not normal again? Or is it only normal in some clusters and abnormal in others? Well, she got malaria while she visited Nigeria from the US and upon returning to the US, she had to expend up to $16,000 for treatment. Did I just say $16,000? Yes, I did. Is the malaria she had different from the one we have here or I don’t get? Well, it’s the same.

This brought me to pondering on the state of well being in our bright continent, Africa. My pondering produced some questions enumerated below

  1. What exactly is causing malaria?
  2. Is the body resistant to some conditions with enough exposure?
  3. If so, why do we fair pain, if the body can so get used to pain and it becomes normal?
  4. Can malaria be completely eradicated?
  5. Are we being treated with the right kind of medication or why will I be treated for less than $50 and be fine, and others need to spend a whopping $16,000 to be fine?
  6. What is the future of health in Africa if we are still battling with malaria now?

While these questions are pending answer, I chatted up a doctor to answer the question “is malaria normal?”

Her answer was as follows:

Malaria isn’t normal. Malaria is caused by protozoa parasites called plasmodia, and four Plasmodium species have been well known to cause human malaria, namely, P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae.

In humans, the parasites grow and multiply first in the liver cells and then in the red cells of the blood. In the blood, successive broods of parasites grow inside the red cells and destroy them, releasing daughter parasites (“merozoites”) that continue the cycle by invading other red cells. The blood-stage parasites are those that cause the symptoms of malaria. P. falciparum is the type of malaria that is most likely to result in severe infections and if not promptly treated, may lead to death.

Now, let me explain to you how it kills… If drugs are not available or if the parasites are resistant to them, malaria infection can develop to anaemia, hypoglycemia or cerebral malaria, in which capillaries carrying blood to the brain are blocked. Cerebral malaria can cause coma, life-long-learning disabilities, and death.

So malaria isn’t normal and if you have malaria don’t joke with your health, make sure you seek medical attention immediately.

And that’s it. If you are like me that thinks malaria is normal, change your mindset, it’s not normal.

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