Why are Nigerians so easy scammed with the Typhoid and Malaria or typhoid-malaria diagnosis?
Typhoid Vs Malaria
IF THERE IS ONE major thing most Nigerians believe so much when it comes to their health, it is that they are always suffering from typhoid, usually pronounced as “tyfod.”Lol.
Almost every lay Nigerian believes there are twin diseases, MALARIA and TYPHOID, which always go hand in hand, very much like JAMES and JOHN, or MARY and MARTHA.
Whenever there’s malaria, then there must be “tyfod.”
Some patients can go on to tell you about how “Tyfod” had been worrying them for years, and all treatment measures had failed. Some others could serve up a retinue of symptoms never-before-imagined, and peg them to “Tyfod”.
Even my paternal grandmother of blessed memory used to call it “tyforce!”
Wahala be like tyforce!
As far as most Nigerians are concerned, regardless of whether it is difficulty with peeing, visual problems, pus from the penis, chest pain, headaches, etc., all are caused by this same “Tyfod”.
And as a doctor, before you say “Jack”, they will dip their hand into their pocket and produce a Widal test result they did for “Tyfod”, which says it is has “significant titre” (usually the test will tell you that any titre level of at least 1/80 is ‘significant’).
So you can’t tell them anything else. You dey ment? How you go talk say them no get tyforce? Is it your tyforce? Are you in their body?
If as a doctor you insist otherwise, they label you as “bad doctor”, “Iti boribo”(dunce), etc.
Some patients will even tell their relatives in Igbo: “Doctor anunwa enwerokwa ife oma. Kedu nke bu na mu enwero tyfod?”
Meaning: “This doctor doesn’t know anything. Which one is that I don’t have typhoid?”
However, the sad truth is this:
1. Typhoid, known as enteric fever, while commoner in Africa compared to developed nations, isn’t as common in Nigeria as we make it seem with every illness. It is a very dangerous and deadly disease that can even kill.
While I have seen a handful of patients with it, the disease ain’t so routine in our environment as malaria is.
2. Widal test is an outdated test and not used to diagnose typhoid. It is not sensitive or specific enough, meaning it won’t tell you if typhoid is there or not there. It is usually suggestive (presumptive).
A high titre from Widal test doesn’t mean anything to any doctor, to be honest.
Typhoid, caused by Salmonella typhi, is diagnosed using a lab culture of BLOOD, URINE or STOOL, depending on how many weeks since the symptoms started. In some cases, a bone marrow aspirate may be needed.
Widal test is just pure garbage in this present day and age.
However, some doctors in the private sector will still treat you for “tyfod” anyway, not because they believe the result, but because they know it is what you want. So they give you the treatment and get their money from you.
To many doctors, private practice is all about making money, nothing else.
So next time you’re ill, see a doctor FIRST and don’t go doing a Widal test for us. It doesn’t mean anything to us at all cos you most likely don’t have typhoid.
This article is fully the intellectual property of Casey Amaefule but adopted by www.nimedhealth.com.ng to educate the general public.