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maliza malaria Zanzibar

Posted by on June 24, 2011

I haven’t been running all week and I told myself that I would go this morning but I just didn’t have the energy at 6:30 and we had a conference call at 7:30 am with San Francisco so I ended up lying in bed for a few extra minutes. It was rather nice.

We talked to our advisors on Skype for an hour then had to cut them off because our car was at the house to pick us up. It was only then that Jaclyn told Tanya and me that she wasn’t feeling well and thought she had a fever. We quickly changed our plans and I rushed to get ready to go into the field so Jaclyn could stay home and rest. Tanya was also not feeling well and decided to stay home too. Because of our late start and traffic getting out of town Makame and I decided to scale back our ambitious plan for the day and only go to two shehias in the northwest part of the island. It took us an hour to drive to the health facility where we met one of the Shehas. We easily found all of the cases we were looking for thinned switched Shehas and mapped some more cases in a different area.

It was really hot; much hotter than the previous day and I got very dehydrated. I didn’t want to drink too much water because there’s no bathroom available but I really should have had more water. I was sweating a lot and started to feel a bit ill. I ate my lunch in the car (again) and felt a bit better after that.

Fortunately we ended our day much earlier than yesterday and headed back to the office at 2 pm. The water had gone down a lot and the drive was much less hazardous as well.

When we got back to the office, the place was in an uproar of activity. There was a big celebration at 4 pm to launch universal arteminisinin combination therapy to treat malaria in Zanzibar (maliza malaria Zanzibar means “eliminate malaria in Zanzibar”) and everyone was going. I got a free T-shirt to commemorate the event then we went to our house to pick up Tanya and Jaclyn who were both feeling better. The celebration was held in a park just outside of town and a concert stage, several tents, and a lot of chairs had been set up. Everyone from the Zanzibar Malaria Control Program and the Ministry of Health were there as well as several hundred school children and many community members.

Sadly, all of the speeches were in Swahili so I didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but I enjoyed the entertainment which included several skits and music and dancing by local artists. There was even a song by a famous group all about eliminating malaria from Zanzibar. All of the kids and most of the adults were on their feet dancing and having a good time. It was really great to see people let loose and enjoy themselves. I took some videos which I’ll try to upload at a later time.

Based on past events I was expecting the party to go much later than scheduled but it ended right on time at 6:30 pm and people cleared out very quickly. It was only when we were dropped off and heard the call to prayer that I realized that the party ended on time so that the men could go to the mosque.

Again we were all feeling exhausted and the vegetable stand didn’t have many good offerings in the evening so we had pancakes for dinner which left me hungry again in an hour. I had some leftover lentils, chickpeas and rice but still went to bed feeling like I really needed more vegetables in my diet.

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