This arrived in the post from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today
One is merely a piece of trivia: while reading a short article in French I came across the word paludisme. I looked it up to find that it means malaria. The anti-malarial tablets I had to take as a child were called Paludrine, which I had never really thought about before, assuming it was a name conjured up when it was first manufactured.
Clearly if I took it as a child, it was made a fair while ago, but when I looked it up, I found this on the ICI site:
The first really effective synthetic treatment against malaria – 'Paludrine' – was developed by ICI scientists in research that was hastened by anticipated wartime needs in the Mediterranean and Asia Pacific, when supplies of the natural quinine treatment for malaria were expected to be cut off to Britain. ‘Paludrine’ was to prove the most effective anti-malarial available for more than four decades.
The less trivial thing I learnt today was that pregnant women, because their immune systems are weaker at the end of pregnancy, are particularly vulnerable to ith malaria and the risk of severe anaemia which it may cause. And there is also great risk for the baby: there is a greater risk of spontaneous abortion, of perinatal mortality, premature birth and low birth weight.
MSF take care of both treatment and prevention. They provide preventative treatment to pregnant women and give them impregnated mosquito nets for themselves and their babies.
I don't believe there can be anyone who hasn't heard of MSF. I have admired their work for years, and continue to do so. Some of the stories in the brochure are horrifying.