Lately I have been helping to staff the school infirmary at Rift Valley Academy. This is the school that John, my 11th grader is attending this year. There are around 500 students at the school and most of them board. This past 6 weeks brought an outbreak of the flu, and as many as 50 kids were staying overnight in the infirmary with fevers, cough, congestion, muscle aches, etc. I would go and check on the kids, screening them for other possible illnesses. Something I hadn’t clued into was that a certain number of the students went home to their families over Christmas Break and were in Malaria endemic areas without using any Malaria Prophylaxis. One such child who looked every bit like the flu, except she wasn’t getting better as quickly as most other students, tested positive on a peripheral blood smear for Malaria. She was started on Malaria drugs but over the course of 2 to 3 days she descended into full blown Cerebral Malaria: unconscious, posturing, Glasgow coma score around 3, in our ICU. The miracle was that over another 4 to 5 days she came back out of the coma and was able to go back to her classes. To be sure, all the other kids were tested for Malaria.
Friday marked the 8th and final chemotherapy treatment for a woman I have been treating for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since October. By “treating” I mean, I have literally been the person mixing and administering all of the medications. She came into our clinic with a swollen neck gland and after sending a small piece for pathology was started on a 4 drug protocol for treatment. She now goes off to the National Hospital in Nairobi for radiation therapy and has a great prognosis for cure. I didn’t plan on doing Oncology but you never know what the next week brings.