The time is 10.30pm. We have just returned from the pharmacy. I am about to get my kids ready for bed. I can hear a noise. Somebody is shaking our gate. I wonder who that could be. My husband goes to the door to find out. He comes back into the room some moments later.
”There’s a woman with a little baby. She says her baby is very sick and would like to see you”, he informs me.
“It’s too late nah” I grumble. She should go to the hospital next door.”
“Go and see her first.” He replies “She is in the living room”
“Good evening ma” I greet, as I enter the room. It is taking me a lot of effort to cover up my annoyance about being disturbed at such an hour
“Good evening, Aunty Pharmacy.” She replied. (I am used to many people in my rural community calling me PHARMACY instead of PHARMACIST )
“Abeg, make you no vex say I come disturb you for house. My pikin body dey hot like fire.”
For the first time since I entered the room, I turn to face the baby. Like magic, I suddenly became very concerned
“You just born?”
“Yes ma. Him never reach one week sef.” I quickly get out my thermometer. 38.4*C. This is not good.
“You for kuku go hospital. Your pikin need to see doctor sharp sharp”
“Na there I first go,” she explains “Doctor say treatment na N 2,500. Na only N1,500 dey my hand. I beg am say I go pay the balance tomorrow, but she no gree. Na my neighbour say make I come see you whether you fit help me.”
That got me.
“I will try and see what I can do to help. But try take your baby tomorrow go health center”
In the absence of laboratory investigation, I examine the baby further and ask the mother some questions. I finally conclude that the cause of the fever to be NEONATAL MALARIA.
Neonatal Malaria occurs during the first few weeks of life. It may be due to the transfer of red blood cells infested with malaria parasites from the mother to the baby via the placenta during pregnancy. Common symptoms include fever (high temperature), diarrhea and poor feeding. If you ever find any of these symptoms in a newborn, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Neonatal malaria can be fatal.
Back to my story…
So my husband goes to the pharmacy to get me the following:
my pediatric drug formulary book,
and the weighing scale.
I weigh the baby and make some calculations to determine right dose for him. I explain to the mom how to use the syringe to measure the correct dose. (This is a newborn and we must take extra caution). Everything we gave her amounted to N800. She gladly paid and left.
Thanks be to God! She returned 3 days later with the news that her baby was hale and hearty.