As if it were nothing more troublesome than a mere cold, people in Ghana often casually mention that they have recently had a little malaria, and before long go about their daily tasks regardless. Well I've just probably had malaria, and no daily tasks were being conducted.
It hits you like a hammer, or more accurately a fire extinguisher, blow to the entire body. Sudden and total exhaustion, burning and then freezing sweats, intense headaches, aching bones, failing muscles, confused thoughts.
Fortunately the symptoms were relatively mild, possibly suppressed by the anti-malarial drugs I've been taking religiously every morning. Lucy morphed into a magnificent nurse, ultimately resorting to a visit to the local Seventh Day Adventist medical clinic to confirm the symptoms with the doc. The clinic was packed with people, including children slumped on benches with similar symptoms to mine, but worked remarkably efficiently.
For these people and I, medication is affordable. Four days' daily intake of 22 pills and pirated Arnie Swarzenegger movies and I was back on my feet. Many can't afford insurance and have to suffer without help, with either a loss of working income or worse (it accounts for a quarter of all deaths of children under 5 in Ghana (20,000 children pa)).