Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Malaria Takes Its Constant Toll-A Postcard from Kenya. (News)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Malaria Takes Its Constant Toll-A Postcard from Kenya. (News)

Article excerpt

In a congested ward in Kisii in the western highlands of Kenya, 50-year-old Nelly Kwamboka wails, curses and collapses in anguish at the foot of the bed. Her young son has just died.

Two months ago, Kisii bore the brunt of an epidemic of highland malaria, which resulted in hundreds of deaths. Nelly is too shocked to walk. She looks pale and exhausted, after trekking many kilometres with her child to reach the hospital.

Nearby, a mother of two, Elizabeth Momanyi from the village of Bomorenda, Suneka, has already lost one son--and her husband--to the epidemic. She rarely seeks medical services for herself, but when her own fever worsened, neighbours intervened, urging her to go to the hospital. But she is not impressed with the treatment she received: "Attendants at this hospital are cruel," she said. "During the few occasions I have been here, I have had my prescription written before I even described my condition or had any medical examination."

In a bed close by, Elizabeth Kemunto had been ailing for two months but could not get to the hospital. Instead, she lay waiting for divine intervention. "We took her to the local pastor for prayers after which she felt better, but then her condition worsened" says her mother, Eunice Nyamato. But even then, she did not see the doctor, opting to buy over-the-counter drugs.

Kisii residents told the Bulletin that they normally use chloroquine as the first line of treatment because it is cheap. …

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