I came down with malaria in the second week of a four week trip to Borneo – I was lucky to be fit and healthy and taking anti-malarials, the doctors thought that probably made the malaria less severe.
I travelled to Borneo with my school, Wolverhampton Grammar School, for a volunteering placement – trekking, visiting orang-utans and building paths around a rainforest centre. The first thing I noticed was I lost my appetite – we were based in the jungle at the time and three days later, when we were out of the jungle and in a small village I went to the doctor who thought I was lacking vitamins and gave me some treatment for that but when I got back to the rest house I started to have convulsions – it was horrible.
The convulsions lasted for about an hour and I was sick and had a fever too. Another doctor suggested I should go to the hospital, Sabah Medical Centre, which was three hours drive away. At first they thought I had typhoid but then a specialist told me I had malaria too. I was put on a drip and given a drug to treat both diseases.
The convulsions lasted for about an hour and I was sick and had a fever too
I spent three days in hospital in total – the hospital was so nice, it was like a hotel, but I still had no appetite. Thankfully my hospital stay and treatment was all covered by my insurance, otherwise it would have been very expensive! After a week of having the parasite levels in my blood tested, I was allowed to rejoin my friends in the school group and continue with my placement.
When I got back home, I decided to give a presentation about my experience and held a ‘Starter and Pudding Lunch’ where I raised £371 for Malaria No More UK – I was lucky but I know that almost half the world’s population is at risk from malaria so I wanted to do what I could to help.