Every Nigerian is a physician, whether or not he or she went to medical school; we learn to diagnose ailments and self-medicate at an early age.
Blood tests to determine the cause of your illness? Only when you’re at death’s door…or death is at yours.
Why waste time siphoning blood and waiting for lab test results when you could take a day off work to lie shivering in bed, popping pills and having everyone at home say “sorry o sorry o.”
Malaria is the default illness, followed by typhoid. i.e. if you don’t feel well you automatically assume it’s malaria and reach for the nearest anti-malarial. If that doesn’t work and you’re still alive you try treating typhoid.
The third probable cause of illness is ‘those wicked people in your village’ but that’s gist for another day.
The problem with having malaria in this country is that, being such a common illness, it’s not recognised as serious unless it’s cerebral malaria or you slip into a coma.
[Two colleagues at work, one is shivering uncontrollably in the warm room]
“What’s wrong with you? Where’s the green file?”
“I don’t feel well, I think I have malaria”
“Alright then where’s the blue file?”
“I don’t know, I don’t feel too good, I -”
“But it was here last week”
[Sick colleague collapses, landing on the floor in the filing room. Other colleague steps over him and reaches for a file on the lower shelf]
So, what – in
If you’re weak and nauseous with the odd headache, don’t be such a baby, you can still show up at work.
If you’re running a slight temperature and your nausea and aching joints keep you up all night, where’s the yellow file?
If you’re throwing up, running a slight temperature, are tired, nauseous and achy with a pounding headache; my friend it’s your turn to present last month’s update at the weekly meeting, don’t think you can escape it just because you have malaria.
Please respect yourself and make sure you have lost weight and your lips have gone grey before you dare to announce the state of your health or present yourself at a hospital.
You are not the first person in this country to have malaria; OUR FOREFATHERS JOURNEYED ACROSS SEVEN HILLS AND SEVEN STREAMS TO GET TO THEIR FARMS AT 4AM, ACHING JOINTS OR NO ACHING JOINTS…they fought and won mighty battles whilst shivering so please….
You are expected to treat yourself. Is there no pharmacy on your street? With brightly packaged malaria medicines on the shelves? And paracetamol for your temperature and headaches?
Then Nigerian, for goodness’ sake heal thyself!