Malaria is a serious, potentially fatal illness. Only the northern parts of Namibia especially along the Kunene River are at high risk. The highest risk of infection is during the hot and rainy summer months from November to April. Because the lowest risk of infection is during the cooler, drier winter months from May to October, some tourists decide against taking a prophylactic medication. The Anopheles mosquito, which is the host of plasmodium falciparum, usually bites during the night from dusk to dawn. It is therefore advisable to wear long trousers and long sleeves as well as socks as protective clothing and to apply a mosquito repellent based on Deet, a chemical agent that leads to a paralysis of the taste nerves. Autan Active Lotion and Anti Brumm Forte were certified by the renowned German Stiftung Warentest as very effective. Although air-conditioning has a positive effect, the bedroom should be equipped with mosquito nets. Malaria cannot be transmitted between humans but must be treated, especially given the effective therapeutic measures available. A variety of medications are on the market, especially Malarone (atovaquone + proguanil). Malarone medication is initiated 2 days prior to entering an endemic region and can be discontinued 1 week after leaving the endemic region. Irrespective of the prophylactic medication (atovaquone, mefloquine or quinine) they are not always 100% effective, so that the above mentioned recommendations should still be heeded. Malaria tests, which a tourist can use as an initial test, often lead to false results – clinical tests are more conclusive as they are more reliable and differentiate between different forms of malaria. The incubation period is 7 – 14 days or longer. Initial symptoms are high fever and joint pain, comparable to the symptoms of influenza. These are followed by a chilly sensation of a shaking chill in combination with a remittent fever. A tourist suffering from unclear symptoms such as fever or headache after returning home should mention that he travelled in South Africa and insist on a clinical test. As a conclusion, it is important to heed all precautionary measures and to remember that malaria is curable and complications can be avoided when it is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible! For more information it is advisable to consult a medical doctor with qualifications in tropical medicine or an institute for tropical medicine!
- MEDICAL SERVICES
The standard of medical services also in private clinics is not comparable to Europe´s standards, but is o.k. Most doctors are general practitioners, specialists are often situated in South Africa. The best private clinics are situated in Windhoek.
It is important to inquire beforehand if your health insurance policy also covers medical cost in Namibia, because this is not always the case! It is therefore necessary to take out an additional health insurance for foreign countries, which not only covers the medical costs but also emergency transportation costs for further treatment at home. If you need any further assistance in regards to insurance, please contact Protea Tours directly.