Hi, you’re listening to Malaria Stories with Annemarie Quinn and Code Sangala on Fight Malaria.
Meet Natasha, a 10-year-old malaria patient from Zomba. Natasha traveled with her father, an hour from the village with her father to Blantyre, to access healthcare. We met them at QECH Malaria Research Centre for Natasha’s monthly check-up after contracting cerebral malaria.
Follow up visits are essential as malaria can have terrible lasting side effects. Natasha took a series of cognitive test to check for brain damage. Unfortunately, in the first stages of Natasha’s tests, they began to show loss of memory and learning disabilities.
At home in Zomba, Natasha has also faced a different kind of challenge: discrimination. The Headmaster of her school refused to admit Natasha in class when she was 9 years old. Although the reason for this is unknown, the Nurse explained to us it is probably due to the lack of understanding about the side effects of malaria.
It would appear that there is a lot of stigma around patients with cerebral malaria, just one of the reasons we started Malaria Stories – to raise awareness and share knowledge through personal experiences.