Travel and Hospitals – Burkina Faso, Part Two

After my experiences in Banfora, I hoped I wouldn’t end up in another hospital in Burkina Faso. BAH! I ended up in another TWO!

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Suffice to say it’s not the ideal country to end up in hospital in, should you have a choice. In Bobo-Diolosso I was taken the main hospital there. Far far bigger than the one in Banfora. By this time I had contracted a secondary infection as well preventing me from swallowing without great discomfort.

I just saw a doctor there who prescribed me different medication for the malaria and who put my swallowing issues down to the malaria. By this time I was very concerned no-one was taking the needed care and detail into my health!

A couple of days later, with no improvement in my health and an aborted attempt to cross to Mali (due to health) I ended up back in the capital, Ouagadougou. I went to the medical centre recommended by the US embassy in Burkina Faso. I’ve visited the website and today I can’t see the name there anymore so perhaps they have closed down.

Downtown Bobo-Diolosso

Downtown Bobo-Diolosso

I was in a comfortable room in this little hospital with a doctor who could speak English and they could deal with my travel insurance. They got the food for the hospital from the neighbouring restaurant, and everything was provided. I’d met a lovely American couple on the bus to Ouagadougou and they visited me a few times. I was in for around a week. I was shuttled by ambulance to a place for scans and they diagnosed my secondary infection as well and treated both that and the malaria.

It was a big relief. And, as you can see, a pretty decent place. BUT – in the capital city. There are few such quality facilities in West Africa, and some countries your government might actually recommend you get airlifted out. I was a little nervous on my way to the brilliant Myanmar this year because all advice on medical care there said, quite bluntly, ‘seek medical treatment in Thailand’.

Map on a cloth in a gift shop, Ouagadougou

Map on a cloth in a gift shop, Ouagadougou

We take quality medical care quite for granted in Australia and indeed ‘the West’, if you will. We are so lucky to have the quality we have, and I must remember that even the care I received in Ouagadougou is not available to most of the population of Burkina Faso. I still remember my guide in Mali’s Dogon country having malaria, but continuing on with the tour and at night sitting by a door with a drip attached to the door handle receiving quinine.

Ouagadougou.

Ouagadougou.

People, and especially children die from malaria at terrifying rates. The Wrold Health Organisation has 2015 at 214 million cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths, 91% of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is after a 60% reduction in cases since 2000. [from the webpage – http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/ ]

So as I blab away about my experiences, please also remember what this disease means to the people of Africa and what a killer it is.

May the Journey Never End.

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