I was quarantined; and so what?
I landed in Berlin on Tuesday 3rd instant after my family and I successfully conducted in Sierra Leone, the 40th day ceremony for my father who departed for eternity few months ago. Though I could still feel the emotional pain for having lost the old man forever, but I arrived back in Germany with great satisfaction about the way and manner he was honored by the family and friends. Most importantly, the late man is estimated to have lived more than 100 years, which means Tuesday, 23rd February this year was the actual day destined for his departure from this chaotic planet of ours. I would therefore like to seize this opportunity to thank all friends and relatives who contributed materially, emotional or financially in solidarity to make the ceremony a success.
Meanwhile, seven days after my arrival here in Berlin, I began realizing strange symptoms including severe headache, muscular weakness and fever. I wasted no time in consulting my private Doctor who referred me to the Institute of Tropical Medicines. While sitting in the waiting room after my blood and urine samples had been sent to the laboratory for thorough examination, I was cunningly drifted by one of the female doctors into a secluded room for reasons she didn’t disclose.
After half an hour in the secluded room, an unusually generous doctor visited me and began discussing trivialities such as the last world cup in South Africa and some night clubs in Berlin. “What am I doing in this room?” I interrupted him suddenly. Instead of answering my question, “it won’t last for long” he told me. “What?” I asked again. While staggering to answer my question, a fat female doctor opened the door and murmured some words into his ear to which he nodded. “Herr Sheriff”, he turned to me and said, “ehelich zusagen, wir haben festgestellt dass Sie Malariaposotiv sind: Mr. Sheriff, to be honest with you, we’ve proved that you’re malaria positive.” “Na und, and so what?” I asked him in a very sharp tone. “Well, according to the German health policy you’re not allowed to go back home” he stated. He further explained that the lab technicians have conducted two phases of test and that the first phase, which already proved me malaria positive, lasted for only 15 minutes which is why I was drifted into the lonely room. The second phase, he went further, lasted for an hour and its purpose was to localize exactly what type of malaria I have since there are many types of malaria in Africa. While awaiting the test result, he had already reserved a room and bed in another hospital where I was going to be quarantined.
Five minutes later, two strong men emerged in the lobby with a wheelchair in which they wanted to carry me. “Are you crazy?” I asked them. They were the emergency rescue team who had already arrived with an Ambulance purposely to carry Sheriff – the malaria patient. What made me more mad about them was their imperative request for me to lie on the stretcher in the ambulance. “You know what, I can even drive your ambulance to wherever you are instructed to take me”, I told them. I was then taken to a quiet hospital in the west-south part of Berlin, where I was quarantined for a period of four days.
The actual malaria treatment for which I was quarantined entails 20 tablets which were administered five times at 12 hours interval. No injection was required. According to one of the doctors who visited me regularly, malaria is just one of the curable diseases that are claiming lives in Africa on daily bases and it’s a tropical and non-communicable except otherwise the anopheles mosquito, which is the principal donor, exist where the patient lives. When asked whether this type of mosquito do exist in Germany, he quickly answered with a big NO! In fact, according to him, such mosquitoes doesn’t even exist in any country near the European territory, let alone in Germany.
Though many friends of mine are showering praises on the German government for being harsh and quick in addressing health issues including mine, the critique trait in me and my natural love for poor Slone are ringing a different bell. In as much as malaria is non-communicable and the treatment doesn’t involve anything rather than ordinary tablets which could be simply taken at home by the patient strictly following a doctor’s prescription, I view my four days in hospital as a loud crusade by the German government to present to it citizens and the whole world a terrible image of all African countries where malaria exists including my beloved Sierra Leone. Also, though Germany is a leading country in the war against many diseases including tuberculoses, HIV/Aids etc. which are very dangerous and easily communicated, there still exists many patients of such diseases in Germany. So if the quarantine policy against malaria is not a bureaucratic war against Africa, why are the tuberculoses and HIV/Aids patients roaming free?
While thanking Mrs. Sheriff and the doctors for taking care of me throughout the four days period of admission? detention?, I wish to reassure all my friends and family that I have perfectly regained my health and my next visit to Sierra Leone shall be early or mid next year; not only because there is no place like home, but because Sierra Leone is habitable. Remember, my late father lived there for 100 years and my mother is now above 70. A bin don get German citizenship, but a luv Salon.
Othman Sheriff, Berlin – Germany.
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