Mittwoch, 23. August 2017

To be sick as a short-term resident in Nairobi

Well, sometimes it happens and you had the wrong food, the climate change from home, when you started in snow and arrived in the hot sun. To keep a long story short: You are sick!

Copyright by Sbisolo (Wikipedia)
What to do when you are sick in Kenya?
First of all stay cool. The doctors here are as good or bad as anywhere else in the world. Sure, you see yourself already in a hospital bed in ICU, with a priest already waiting for prey and strolling along the corridor.

To help you with information and to explain that you are in good hands with a sickness in Kenya, I have thought of two situations I went through - and obviously - I survived happily, sitting here and writing a post.

Food Poisoning The Afternoon Before Departure
What worries you most in such a situation is the fact that you have no learned understanding of how to rule out Malaria. You feel awful, your bones are aching and you have this bitter taste in your mouth. Definitely, it must be Malaria. It happened like this right after lunch a few hours before my departure.

I went home to start packing and was knocked out on the spot with a terrible headache. I decided to rest until the cab driver would pick me up for the airport. But nothing changed to the better. Together with the taxi driver, I discussed my sickness and what to do. Don't worry, people here know what to do and where to go to for help. If you know the people you talk to, give them respect and trust!

So we detoured to town at the wrong time at rush hour. Have you ever been on the road in Nairobi at 5.30 p.m.? But Mike suggested to go to a pharmacy in town, so we did.

After an endless journey, we arrived and one of the pharmacists saw me. He checked on a few things: eyes, stomach, joints. He asked how I felt. I should describe. He concluded it was not Malaria. And in this moment, I had no reason to question his decision. My experience of years was and is that Malaria is well known in this country. You as a foreigner should trust almost every information on this that a pharmacy will give you. And no matter, whether it is in a remote area, in a forest or in a posh neighborhood. Trust their judgement. And: I think a specialized institute for tropical diseases in Germany is probably very good, but no need to double-check. And please, this is my opinion and I cannot advice you to follow my personal decisions. Finally, I found out it was food poisoning and bad luck on my last meal in Kenya.

Yellow Fever Shots can cause problems
A few years ago, I planned to travel to Uganda by car. It was an opportunity to join some friends and have an interesting trip in their company. To enter Uganda one needs a shot against yellow fever in your arm and a stamp in your WHO health pass. You can get this injection in Germany, but at a high cost, which is not covered by your health insurance. So, I decided to do it in Nairobi with the governmental office at local level: City Hall offers this service for a small fee.

City Hall - Nairobi
Copyright by Jorge Làscar (Wikipedia)
I went there, I queued with many Kenyans and eventually got the injection and the stamp. So, Uganda, here I come. Well, it was not meant to happen this time.

I had an allergic reaction, which is highly possible, as I was told during the treatment at City Hall.
Only, I had a stronger reaction, which was followed by fever (again, I thought maybe Malaria) and a general weakness.

After a day there was no changes and I had to cancel my trip. I decided to stay with other friends to have people around for my treatment. Tea, biskuits and also warm words helped a lot and after three days I was ok again.

So, Kenyan pharmacists and also friends are a very big help with most of the sicknesses that you might catch in Kenya.

I do not underestimate serious diseases and I can only advice everyone to see a qualified doctor in a recommended private hospital in such a case. You need to bring money, but your health should it be worth for you, isn't it?

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