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Umar’s deadly fever: a touching piece on fever in children

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.



11th June
See, caring for a sick child in hospital is not a small matter. For two weeks, I have walked the length and breadth of the hospital to submit test samples, collect results, buy drugs. Let me not even get started on the number of times they have pricked my poor baby with needles for one reason or the other.
I am thankful though that it is not worse. All Umar has is a little fever that comes now and then. The other night, the child in the bed by the window just stopped breathing. There was chaos as the mother screamed her ears off and tore her clothes; she literally went mad. I cried too, it is a very distressing thing to lose a child, very terrible.
Umar is active and feeds very well, his bulky cheeks are evidence. Much unlike the skinny girl in the cot next to his. Both mother and daughter look like those children from drought-ridden Somalia. I do not understand how this can be. Here I am putting on so much weight despite eating only once a day and the woman in the space next to mine seems to be losing it everyday. She is like broomsticks pieced together and dressed in a blouse and wrapper.
Most days, I give them a portion of my food because I cannot bear to see them so malnourished and not do something about it. The woman accepts it anyway without speaking but I take her silence for shyness or embarrassment. I can see they must be going through a lot of struggle. What bothers me is that her husband never comes around, the husbands of the other mothers in the ward come at least once in two days bearing money and food.


Not every fever is caused by Malaria
The cause of that fever you have is not always Malaria. Several other conditions can cause it, such as; stress; typhoid fever; infections of the ear, throat, urinary tract or any other part of the body; cancers like lymphoma, leukaemia; tuberculosis; HIV/AIDS; drugs; and many more.
The treatment for these conditions vary widely, hence the need to properly diagnose the cause of that fever. This is done through tests – malaria can be tested using rapid kits, and answering questions like, “when did your fever start?”, “is it very high?”, “is there a particular time of day it’s worse?” “do you feel pain anywhere?”, etc. Your healthcare provider would also want to know if there are any related complaints, what drugs you have used, among other things. So get that fever properly checked today.

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo