Personal Views

Malaria revisited

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 17 December 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1666
  1. Helen Minnis

    I have had malaria in two countries: Guatemala and Britain. I contracted malaria in Guatemala in 1992 while running a small rural clinic. I diagnosed it clinically by recognising the unmistakable constellation of total body pain and rigors followed by a high fever and a thumping headache. Having spent long hours training health promoters to deal with medical practicalities such as how to bring down a fever, my Guatemalan experience of malaria was short lived and not too unpleasant. I lay in my bed while one of the trainees brought down my fever with tepid sponging and paracetamol and after a couple of days of treatment I was fighting fit again. Even in the most far flung rural areas of Guatemala there are men in khaki suits who go around with bright green plastic cases containing all the equipment required to diagnose and treat malaria. Data are fed back to the ministry of health, which collates figures on strains of plasmodium and any chloroquine resistance. Of course, not all runs smoothly. The blood results rarely got back to the sufferer within six months of having the disease, so the recommended drug treatment of chloroquine and …

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