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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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Old 14 Dec 2011
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Buying malaria tablets in Africa

A recent news paper article about a journalist who travelled from Ireland to South Africa said that Malaria tablets are much cheaper in Africa than in Europe. Has anybody tried to source their malaria tablets in Africa? Was it cheaper and could you actually get your preferred type/brand?

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Old 15 Dec 2011
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We prefer not to use any prophylaxis against malaria (take the usual precoutions, carry a test kit and emergency solution in case you do end up getting malaria), but sometimes that isn't the wisest things to do...

In Southern and Eastern Africa they will sell you Doxycycline as a prophylaxis against malaria and this is quite cheap (compared to buying prophylaxis in Europe).

Recall 7 euro / 10 USD for about 100 pills. With one pill a day, this will give you roughly 3 months... I wouldn't use it any longer than that, to be honest.

This stuff seems to work against almost everything, that can't be healthy


PS: we found those Malaria test kits available at the better pharmacies in Southern Africa for about 10 euro a kit
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Old 15 Dec 2011
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The problem in Africa (except the modern countries) is that you're never sure what you buy, there's a huge ammount of fake Chinese pills on the market because gouverments don't test them.
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Old 15 Dec 2011
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I was also thinking of the risk of not actually getting the quality product you hoped for, even worse getting something in your system you don’t want...

I like the like the idea of not taking any malaria tablets as over the years I have not taken anything, but rather being careful and taking required preventative measures after dark. I also monitor closely for symptoms for a while after the trip into an affected region. Now I am considering taking the tablets is that we will be in affected regions for about 3 months. I must say, I hate taking it as it makes me so nauseou.

How reliable are these test kits?
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Old 15 Dec 2011
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The cheap disposable "finger stick" malaria tests are generally reliable, and you can expect these will be used by local clinics where available. I would rather rely on a "finger stick" test that having someone look at my blood under a microscope in a bush clinic which can be somewhat unreliable.

Malaria medication (both prohylaxis and curative) is generally available at any chemist in any meduim - large African city. Fakes can be an issue, but having had malaria several times and been reliant on artemesin purchased locally, I have never had a problem with fakes.

If it were my choice, I would prefer to buy in Africa. Cheaper and more readily available.
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Old 21 Dec 2011
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Malaria stuff - our take

Hi folks

We just did 1 year on the road UK to Cape Town via West Africa see Latest news / About us - Langebaan Sunset - Stonehenge UK to Cape Town SA - 2010/11

  • We bought Doxy in SA before we flew back to UK to start trip - much cheaper (we did suffer from sun sensitivity)
  • We also took Malerone as a treatment if we got Malaria - got spares from friend who is a doctor in UK
  • We also took a few test kits (finger ***** blood test) easy to use but no substitute for seeing a doctor and getting a proper second opinion.
  • When you get into the Tropics / Malaria areas buying pills is OK as long as you go to a dispensing clinic or pharmacy. We saw a lot of people taking Coartem that is one of the main treatments - locals don't tend not to take prophylaxsis.
  • Remember - Malaria kills a lot of folk and they need access to the "real" treatments. Our experience was it was available in most medium sized towns and the cheap / fake pills tended to be in markets or street stalls.
  • You can spot branded real pills Vs fake imports simply from the establishment and people selling them. Fake ones tend to be stacked in piles being sold for pennies. Real medicines purchased in clinics and pharamacies were properly packaged and dated. A lot of African places that sold proper medicines were run by trained people who knew what they were talking about and we had no problems buying medicines there.
  • Just don't rely on taking nothing with you or putting off getting anything until such time you reach the tropics.
  • We took precautions and covered up at dawn and dusk.... a good tent with moz mesh and DEET to spray on clothes worked well.
  • DEET on skin felt liked it was burning so we stopped applying it and used Skin So Soft from Avon and Autan.... both a lot less aggressive and kinder to the body - especially if you are in the tropics for extended periods (6 months for us).
  • Next time - we might not take the Doxy and simply monitor the situation and have test kits and treatment. See how you get on with what ever pills you take - we did a trial run for 1 week on Doxy.... just make sure you eat food before you take the pills.

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