To commemorate World Malaria Day and World Immunization Week, our partners in African research centers who are working on a malaria vaccine have been writing about their personal experiences with malaria. Today, Winston Mbanda, communications officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Centers for Disease Control in Kisumu, Kenya, tells of the time his own daughter, Joy, fell ill.
On December 1, 2010, my wife Isabel, a high school teacher in Bungoma District, western Kenya, and our two daughters, Hope and Joy, were traveling to join me in Nairobi for December holidays. It had been a while since we had met as a family and we greatly anticipated the exciting moment of reunion.
When they arrived, Isabel informed me that Joy, then three and a half years old, was complaining of headaches. Initially, we thought the headache could have been caused by the six hours of traveling from Bungoma to Nairobi. That evening we gave her some painkillers, but the following day she still complained about having a headache.
Could it be malaria?
Since my family had come from western Kenya, where malaria is common, we suspected Joy could be suffering from malaria and took her to a private clinic for treatment. Three days after the malaria treatment, she started complaining of headaches again. She also ran a high temperature and lost her appetite.
We decided to take her to Nairobi Outpatient Hospital for further checkup. At the hospital, a number of tests were done and she was found again to be suffering from malaria. She was treated and seemed to improve, although she still had a high temperature and her appetite didn’t improve.
On the fifth day after treatment at Nairobi Outpatient Hospital, she started vomiting and her temperature rose as high as 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 Fahrenheit). We took her back to the hospital, but we were referred to the Kenyatta National Hospital, the biggest public referral hospital in Kenya. Continue reading