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Malaria Brain Damage

Published 05th June 2010 - 3 comments - 11145 views -

The person you see on the photo is called Peter. He is 15 years old and lives in the southern highlands of Tanzania, in Morogoro. His new home is Mehayo (the centre for Mentally Handicapped Youth).

The centre has anually quite a lot of foreign volunteers. That's way Peter can go from time to time to the swimming pool which is sponsored by European youth.

Peter is a good swimmer.

He loves it. He really does.

Tanzania, Morogoro. Peter during the activities on the swimming pool

Photo: IF,, Peter in the water in the swimming pool of International School, Morogoro, Tanzania, 2009

Peter is one of the most "difficult" clients for the organisation. He can be agressive and fights with other kids that live in the centre with him.

But he is also nice and gentle on the other hand. "He just cannot express himself. However he understands everything what's goin' around. That's way he is so frusterated. " - my friend from Peace  Corps, US programme for volunteers, used to say in Mehayo.

Integration day in Morogoro for disabled and none disabled kids

Photo: IF, The integration day in Mehayo. Pupils from neighboaring school came to learn about disability.

Peter was brought to the centre by his parents few years ago. The diagnose says: "brain-damage caused by malaria", shorlly called "malaria brain damage".


Brain-damage caused by malaria

When the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum moves into the brain, a condition known as CEREBRAL MALARIA, it becomes even more deadly.

- Almost one in five children who develop cerebral malaria die.

- Of those who survive one in ten have neurological problems that cause impaired vision, speech and or movement that are apparent when they leave hospital.

- Nearly a quarter of surviving children have serious neurological problems and epilepsy when assessed years later.

Peter is one of the survivor!!!!!

‘The malaria parasite sticks to brain blood vessels and blocks them. This reduces the oxygen supply to brain tissue and destroys neurones, the brain cells. This is what causes the brain damage associated with cerebral malaria’’ explains Dr Casals-Pascual.

Peter can hardly speak but he loves to walk. He usually comes to you, grab your hand and walk with you whereever you want. He is very helpful indeed. I used to take him for a walks to shop and he was always ready to carry on his head my 5-liter-bottle-water.

Roughly one in ten children will suffer from neurological impairment after cerebral malaria, be it epilepsy, learning disability, changes in behaviour, loss of coordination or impairments to speech. As well as being discomforting physically, these problems can also lead to stigmatisation in the community and can reduce individuals' capacity for work, imposing an additional economic burden.

"First holiday passed and noone come to visit Peter at the centre. The next half a year passed and noone as well" - said Linda Ngido telling about Peter's story. "So we decided to call them. It occured that Peter's parents gave us the wrong phone number and adress. They disappeard and left us the kid alone. So it's been almost 5 years that he is with us".

Cerebral malaria, which affects more than 750,000 children a year, is one of the deadliest forms of malaria.      Don't forget about those who survived!!!!


Category: Health | Tags: malaria, brain damage, disability,


  • Bart Knols on 06th June 2010:

    Nice post. Thanks for joining the awareness for malaria as part of MDG6!

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