That (first) time I got malaria

This time last year (Day 394) I was in Ghana struck down with malaria for the first time. Unfortunately for me, Ebola was wreaking havoc throughout West Africa and all hospitals across the sub-region were on high alert. That’s why I can understand when the nurses at the St John’s Private Clinic at Tantra Hill, North Accra swiftly turned me away when I entered the lobby vomiting into a bucket. They couldn’t get me out of there quick enough and to be honest, up until that point it did not cross my mind that it could even be malaria let alone Ebola. I thought I had food poisoning at worst, but most likely a bodily shutdown from the highly and terribly emotionally charged day I had experience earlier. Note to self – do not let personal circles and professional circles overlap.

Anyways, it was not Ebola, but still I was sent to Achimota Hospital – the taxi driver got lost, God knows where he was going to take us! Last minute, my sister changed the plot from Achimota Hospital to Lapaz Community Hospital Annex in Christian Village (just off the Legon West Road), because obviously if the nurses at St. John’s were sending me to Achimota because they thought I had Ebola, then all other clinics around the city would be doing the same and that means I could be walking into a lion’s den of Ebola and frankly she was having none of it!

We got to LCHA and paid for the fast track service. Yes, there were a few minor questions on the morality of jumping the queue just because we had the £10 to do so. £10 that ordinary Ghanaians, perhaps couldn’t spare, but I didn’t care at the time and my sister was finally convinced when the Hajia who came in after us began groaning and coughing openly and unrestrictedly into the communal atmosphere. She saw things my way and paid for the VIP service. Like I said, it turns out it wasn’t Ebola but rather malaria and potentially a UTI caught from my workplace not ensuring that the cleaners cleaned properly (I know this because I found out that in the same week a couple colleagues suffered the same thing). Given that I worked for a multinational I hope I can be forgiven for thinking that the standard of cleanliness would be equal to what I would experience in Switzerland.

Anyways, that was the first time I got malaria. Most likely also from the workplace which had far too many mozzies roaming free. Obviously, since then, I’ve found better ways to repel mozzies and only caught malaria one more time. If you are seriously afraid of getting malaria I guess you shouldn’t stop taking your malaria tablets like I did.

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