We met Matilda Bandwe at Balaka when we spent the afternoon with members of the Balaka Radio Listening Club. The club listen to health programmes produced by one our partners Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust and the Malawi Broadcast Corporation, as part of our Action Meningitis project to tackle meningitis in Malawi.
To date, MRF have funded two programmes about meningitis and when we met the Listening Club we questioned them about what they had learnt about the disease from the programme and we realised Matilda was very knowledgeable and then we we found out why:
"My niece Sama Bakali (23yrs old) contracted meningitis in 2012. She became unwell and at first we thought she had the symptoms of malaria and we bought some Panadol and gave it to her. The next morning when she woke up she was continuing to complain of headaches so we gave her more Panadol. We thought about taking her to hospital and whilst preparing breakfast we heard her scream and she was shouting her neck was hurting. We took Sama to the health clinic and they tried to figure out what was wrong but they couldn’t deal with it so referred her to Balaka District Hospital.
"We got to a point where she couldn’t take medication and couldn’t sit, we had to do everything for her but when we got to the District Hospital they acted very quickly and discovered it was meningitis.
"They acted so quickly at the hospital and did the Lumbar Puncture and gave her medication and by the evening there were some signs of improvement and she was able to turn her head. We stayed in the hospital for two weeks and she is fine now."