This summer in South Sudan I caught Malaria. I wasn’t aware of this until six weeks after we returned to Salisbury but a set of fevers exactly three days apart concerned my GP sufficiently for her to alert Salisbury District Hospital that I would be arriving on the Acute Medical Assessment ward in 40 minutes. It has been a thoroughly unpleasant experience which has involved a week in hospital, high fevers, countless blood tests, ECG’s, a chest x-ray, an ultrasound scan, meetings with doctors in Salisbury and London and horrible side effects from the medication.
But enough of my problems
I’m writing this to highlight the plight of Malaria sufferers in South Sudan. Whilst lying in a hi-tec hospital bed feeling sorry for myself one night, I was reminded of an unforgettable sight that we saw in Kajo Keji this summer. It was a Government hospital which frankly was no better than a cattle shed. The ward walls were only waist height, so there was no privacy and it was filthy.
There was no expensive scanning or x-ray equipment, no comfortable beds, nursing care was given by the family and medication was in short supply. There were no mosquito nets, no adequate washing or toilet facilities and no protection from the heat of the day.
A few minute’s drive from there in the town of Liwolo, CRESS has provided the local community with a new modern, nine bed clinic where senior nurse Emmanuel Lulu treats up to 55 patients a day, many with Malaria. True, it is not yet up to western standards, but the wards are clean, there are curtains in the windows, locks on the doors, mosquito nets over every bed, solar powered refrigeration for the medication and a well stocked dispensary.
Fresh water is pumped from a bore hole and the kitchen provides staff and patients with nutritious food.
A recent grant from a UK charity will ensure that CRESS can continue to provide medication for another year and a new member of staff, Selina a young doctor will increase the number of patients that can be seen and allow Emmanuel Lulu to take some time off.
There is still work to do to complete this facility. A pump and internal plumbing would allow us to pipe fresh water inside, we still need to tile the floors and to build two huts for staff accommodation.
Even more funding would enable us to provide the staff with more equipment to make their job of diagnosing and testing easier.
I am incredibly grateful for the amazing care I have received here at Salisbury District Hospital and at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London. I am humbled by the thought that I was impatiently awaiting my medication for 45 minutes in London, when for many thousands of South Sudanese it is not even available.
Join me in expressing your gratitude for the amazing NHS in the UK by donating to the work of our clinic in Liwolo. Press here to take you to more information on the clinic and on how to give.