Sharon Forbes, 61, lived in Kenya for 17 years. She contracted malaria three times during her time there. The first time it was mild and passed within two days. But the second time she contracted the most serious form – cerebral malaria. She was on a flight back to the UK when the terrible symptoms came on quickly and progressed fast – violent headache, excruciating neck pain and nausea.
Sharon says, "I started to feel really sick. I knew right away that it was malaria. By the time we landed at Heathrow I was very ill. I asked my mum to locate the nearest hospital for tropical diseases. The train journey was horrendous! I was throwing up constantly, had a raging headache and was suffering from hot sweats and shivers. How I made it to Manchester I will never know!
“The ironic thing was that both times I was treated, as soon as I was put on a quinine drip – the standard treatment for malaria – I got better within days. In Africa, it’s considered much like getting flu is in the UK. It’s perhaps why my husband Colin didn’t panic when I had it, he’s had it four times himself.
Yet the tragedy is that every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. One day, with more education – and perhaps a vaccine – as well as the work of the Malaria No More UK charity I hope we can beat it.”