Yankho Kaliwo

Bacterial Meningitis at one

Bacterial Meningitis

Yankho Kaliwo from Bangwe, Blantyre in Malawi contracted meningitis in 2012 when he was one month old, his mother Patricia tells Action Meningitis the story:

"Yankho became ill on a Friday evening so we went to Bangwe Health clinic but there was no clinician available, so were told we had to come back on Saturday morning. When we went back the following day and they gave us medication for Malaria – LA and some Panadol.

"We came home again and he still wasn’t very well and on Sunday morning he started having convulsions and looked different. We went back again to the clinic and they gave him an injection for pneumonia and told us to come back if we thought his condition hadn’t improved.

"We did go back on Sunday evening and they said we were being referred to QECH but the clinician told us that the ambulance had just left and they couldn’t call it back, so they advised us to wait until Monday morning to go to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) .

"When we got home Yankho got even worse – he had a blank expression on his face and we couldn’t sleep as he was so sick so we had to hire a vehicle and rush to QECH the same evening.

"When we got to QECH they did a Lumber puncture and we were told he had malaria which stiffens the body (which is a literal translation of meningitis).

"We stayed at hospital for 3-4 weeks, the first week was in a children’s ward and they told me that they needed to find some specialists to find out what was wrong with him and get him proper treatment. The following week we were moved to the malaria ward and Yankho was still unconscious and I was very worried. During his third week in hospital he woke up.

"I have three other children, 11, 8 and 5 years old and they were looked after by my husband whilst I was in hospital with Yankho. It was really hard for us as my husband came to visit us every day and as a result our small business crumbled. He just couldn’t run it as he was spending money to visit us in hospital and couldn’t manage the business as well as looking after the children.

"I just knew something was wrong with Yankho, he was very sick and irritable and although I wasn’t well myself with a nasty cough, I was persistent at the health clinic and needed someone to tell me what was wrong with my baby.

"Yankho is now one year and one month old and he still can’t crawl, so we think he might have some developmental delays as he was unconscious for nearly two weeks.

"I think I would be able to spot the symptoms of meningitis again as I remember all the strange signs of the disease in my baby. I have told my close friends about what happened to him and what to look out for if their child is sick."

Find out about our work combating meningitis and septicaemia in Malawi - Action Meningitis