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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 3 Apr 2008
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Exclamation All issues in western africa needed

Me and my fiance decided to take a trip around the world for about a year..
but anyway what i need to know was that one stop were making is to go through western Africa
however my fiance has it in his head that there is ALOT of issues there i know about yellow fever and Malaria..but i am pretty positive there is a whole load of other issues as well please let us know anything you have on the following countries down to climate, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria

we would REALLY appreciate it
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  #2  
Old 3 Apr 2008
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wstern africa

its great doing the west coast run..sure there are problems but nothing that you cant get through with some common sence and a sense of humour all of the countries you mention have thieves and rogues , nice people and idiots ... just like any european country

read the web sites all your questions will be answered and if they are not ask away on here..many of us have done it and have lived to tell the tale!!! which we do at boring length


jeff watts

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  #3  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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Health in W Africa

If you travel for any length of time in West Africa you will probably get malaria, as well as a few other interesting diseases - random non malarial fevers are common, and stuff like conjunctivitis just sweeps through badly smashed up places and can't be avoided...

But...
The good news is, that actually, as long as you are healthy and relatively fit, and prepared to have a few miserable nights, you won't have any serious problems... I worked in Sierra Leone & Liberia during the civil wars for various NGOs, and while I got both varieties of Malaria and a collection of other nasties, all of them clear up with self-treatment. The only colleague who died got Lassa Fever, a haemorragic fever which is endemic in Eastern SL and can be nasty, but he got it by walking round in sandals in a known rat infested area, with cuts on his feet... I went to fetch his colleague and clear out the house they'd been living in, and didn't feel at any risk, but I was wearing boots which I would always wear in W Africa, no matter how hot it is...

As for the Malaria - take treatment with you - I use Quinnine but for some it's a bit strong, Artesunate is a very good modern treatment (World Health Organisation recommend it - but buy it from a reputable supplier, the Chinese make it and they have been selling a lot of fake stuff...) and, most important for any fever, treat with LOADS of clean water. I'd personally say that the deaths from Malaria are almost entirely due to not drinking enough clean water when feverish - if you have to walk 1km down the hill to get to the pump and you have a high fever then you dehydrate instead, and then you die... I've had both Falciparum and Vivax Malaria many times and I know someone who had both together, but treatment, rest for a few days, and loads of water (think 6 litres a night when feverish) and you should be ok... Like so many tropical killers, Malaria is really fatal because of poverty - people who don't have clean water on tap and are already a bit weak.

The other thing is - make sure you have a GOOD first aid kit - I've had to use my own kit to have a sliced wrist sewn up (I could see right inside my arm until I went all faint at the sight of it!) after being chopped by a bit of corrugated iron roofing - even if you can find a clinic it probably won't have any supplies! And carry a sensible selection of antibiotics, they get sold by the colour of the pills rather than the function (really, I've had staff just go off to buy "the big red ones" because they had a bit of spare cash!) so it's fairly important to know what you have and what to use them for - bearing in mind that because of uncontrolled use most stuff is already antibiotic resistant!

And the last thought - wash your hands fairly obsessively! Carry the gel handwash - you'll find you use it a lot!

But - it's a great region (with the exception of Conakry airport - the worst and most corrupt place on earth!) and great fun - friendly people, weird stuff going on, and completely addictive!

Have Fun

Tony
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Old 9 Apr 2008
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I second all that Tony has written. I have lived and worked in Equatorial Guinea for 8 years, and I must be very lucky because I haven't had malaria yet, although I know plenty of people who have. I have had lots of other random infections, boils, skin funguses, fevers etc. As Tony says, clean water is important, as is wearing boots, and frequent hand-washing. Viruses survive for quite long periods on hard surfaces, so try to get used to things like pushing doors open with your knuckles, and not pawing anything that you don't need to touch. Soft surfaces like fabrics are not so much of a problem.

I take Malarone every day as malaria prevention, but it is very expensive (£2+ per tablet); Lariam/Mefloquine is a cheaper alternative but has weird (mental!) side effects in some people. As for treatment, I carry Coartem/Riarmet - but haven't had to use it yet. I would definitely get a bed net, because the malaria mozzies hunt at night. In fact, the best way not to get malaria is not to get bitten.

Anyway, wishing you "No wahalla!"
Nigel
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Old 9 Apr 2008
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be careful of post sex lying in the wet (from sweat) patch under the overhead fan. it is likely to lead to a slight chill the following morning, which leads to self-diagnosed malaria and lots of $20 tests at the local hospitals. a friend told me....
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