Better information leads to better treatment
6. Learn how to know the different diseases and to protect oneself – Instructor

To protect one’s health it is important to know :

  • The main symptoms of a disease
  • The way a disease is transmitted
  • Its evolution and the existing ressources to fight against it


  • Malaria is parasitic disease transmitted by a mosquito infected with Plasmodium and called female Anopheles mosquito.
  • It can be deadly if not cured.
  • Its consequences can be much more serious, even deadly for young children and pregnant women


- According to the World Health Organization Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds.

- It is the main cause of death among children under 5 years old.


- The main symptom is a fever that occurs between 8 and 30 days after contamination.

- But also other disorders such as :

  • Shivers
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • General tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Paleness as a sign of anemia (severe blood disorder)


- The disease is transmitted by a mosquito. There is no transmission from person to person.

- However, an infected pregnant woman can transmit the disease to her baby.

- The rainy season increases the transmission of the disease.


There are two forms of Malaria :

Simple Malaria :

- It is the most frequent. It can be cured with antimalarial tablets prescribed by the health centre.

- Recovery can be quite fast provided you follow the treatment carefully and long enough.

- However, wihtout appropriate medication, simple malaria can quickly develop into a much more serious form of the disease.

Severe Malaria :

- In addition to the symptoms previoulsly described the disease can cause seizures (involuntary contractions of a part of the body or of all the body muscles), a coma (a state of unconciousness) and rapidly lead to death.

- The sick person needs to be immediately put under medical supervision at the health centre.


Pregnant women and children under five are strongly advised to take a preventive treatment on prescription of the medical staff because of the devastating consequences of Malaria .
Recommended precautions :

- No stagnant waters around the houses.

- At home you must use a treated mosquito net or window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside the house. The use of insecticides is recommended if regularly renewed.

- Outside in the evening it is important to wear clothes that entirely cover your body.


Diarrhea can be a symptom of a disease, but severe diarrhea can cause death.


- Acute diarrhea is one of the main causes of death among children under five years old.

- It mainly affects children or people already weakened by another disease.


  • Unusually frequent soft or liquid stools (more than 3 or 4 times a day)
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • No appetite
  • Weakness and general tiredness
  • Sometimes blood or mucus in the stools
  • A dry mouth or tongue, a reluctance to drink or on the contrary severe thirst are signs of dehydration which is very dangerous and sometimes deadly.


The disease is more likely to develop because of :

- The consumption of infected or polluted water and food stored or cooked in bad conditions.

- Poor personal hygiene.

- Being near animal excrements.

The disease can be transmitted from to person to person : the stools and vomiting of a sick person are extremely contagious.



- It can last between several days or several weeks. You have to go to the health centre within the very first days of the outbreak of the diarrhea.

- To avoid dehydration the medical staff will prescribe an oral rehydration salt solution if they think it necessary.

- In any case it is very important to give the sick person a lot to drink as long as the diarrhea hasn’t disappeared.

- Choose to eat very nutritious food to avoid malnutrition that often comes with diarrhea.


- Being aware of the available ressources to clean water in your area.

- Water needs to be boiled before you drink it and food thoroughly cleaned. Ensure you cook your food well and eat it immediately after cooking.

- Wash your hands with water and soap :

  • After using the toilet, having touched the baby’s bottom or diapers.
  • Before cooking, serving or eating food.

- Dry your hands with a clean cloth or towel.

- Regularly clip your nails.


- Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium known as Koch’s bacillus. It spreads from to person to person by airborne transmission.

- It mainly affects people suffering from malnutrition and immune deficiency (low natural defenses) often caused by a disease (HIV/AIDS mainly)


Each year 500 000 people die from tuberculosis and this figure is steadily increasing.


- Violent, severe, persistent fits of coughing and sometimes coughing up blood.

- Fever (more or less high)

- General tiredness, loss of weight and appetite.

- Difficulty breathing

- Night sweats.


- When people with infected lungs cough, sneeze, talk or spit they spread microscopic droplets in the air containing the germs of the disease.

- A sick person without treatment contaminates on average 10 to 15 people a year.


There are two forms of tuberculosis :

Primary tuberculosis :

- When there are no symptoms it goes most of the time unnoticed.
- Stopped by the immune system defenses most of the time the infection progresses naturally towards recovery.
- However 5 to 10 % of all infected people actually develop the disease and become contagious . This may sometimes occur several years after contamination because the infection can remain hidden in the human body during a long time.

Active-tuberculosis disease :

- It is then extremely serious. The infection affects the lungs and can spread to other organs of the body. It can cause death if not correctly taken care of.

- The treatment consists of administrating anti-tuberculosis medication regularly and without interruption during a period of 6 to 8 months on average. A regular supervision by the medical staff is necessary.

- The sick person should be isolated from other people at the start of the treatment and as long as she or he is contagious (bacteria in the sputum).


There is a vaccine against tuberculosis. It is recommended to give it as soon as the baby is born.


- MALARIA is transmitted to human beings through an infected female anopheles mosquito when it bites to obtain blood needed to nurture its eggs. Male mosquitos don’t bite and therefore do not spread the disease.

- Tuberculosis is due to a bacterium known as Koch’s bacillus. One of the main problems encountered in the fight against the disease is the development of drug-resistant forms of turberculosis. They mainly affect people who were infected but didn’t follow the treatment prescribed by the medical staff seriously enough.

Knowledge Test

The words and the diseases

Match each word in the list to a letter of the disease it corresponds to.

Parasite – Drinking water – Dehydration – Cough – Mosquito – Antimalarial treatment – Breathing – Contagion – Infant

? Correction

Match each word in the list to a letter of the disease it corresponds to. For example the word « parasite » will go on the « P » of the word « Paludism »
Parasite – Drinking water – Dehydration – Cough – Mosquito – Antimalarial treatment – Breathing – Contagion – Infant

P A L U D I S M : A = Antimalarial treatment
P A L U D I S M : M = Mosquito
P A L U D I S M : I = Infant

D I A R R H E A : D = Drinking water
D I A R R H E A : D = Dehydration
D I A R R H E A : I = Infant

T U B E R C U L O S I S : C = Cough
T U B E R C U L O S I S : B = Breathing
T U B E R C U L O S I S : C = Contagion
T U B E R C U L O S I S : I = Infant

Posted in Instructor, Instructor To be well informed leads to better treatment.