Malaria is endemic in Liberia and prevalence is high at the moment as the rainy season draws to a close.  One of our 2 local instructors succumbed to it this morning during the 1st lecture of the day.  Fortunately she was sitting next to one of the observing doctors when she collapsed so was admitted straight from our teaching room.  She has been discharged now on oral treatment but is not going to be up to teaching tomorrow either which is sad for her as she was quite excited to be involved in the course.

Julia’s unmade bed (a la Tracy Emin)

This is a picture of my pop-up mosquito net which I love sleeping under.  It makes me feel like I’m sleeping in a 4-poster bed!  Unfortunately not many pregnant women like sleeping under the nets they are provided with by the antenatal clinic and there is only a 55% uptake of these and malaria prophylaxis which is offered to all pregnant women in Liberia.  It reminds me of when I was in Malawi many years ago watching people fish with beautiful blue fine mesh nets – mosquito nets distributed to them free.

Malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Liberia, with 38% of outpatient attendance and 42% of inpatient deaths attributable to malaria ( However, malaria prevalence in children aged under 5 years has been significantly reduced from 66% to 32% since 2005 and this will be largely due to distribution of free nets to households with children aged under 5 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.  So, despite some Liberian women’s reticence and some Malawian fishermen’s initiative, free mosquito nets do save lives.

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