Dear Dr. Boli: How are homoeopathic treatments for malaria prepared?—Sincerely, HRH The Prince of Wales.

Dear Sir: As mosquitoes are the primary cause of malaria, homoeopathic remedies and preventatives for malaria are naturally made from mosquitoes in highly diluted form. One or two mosquitoes suffice to produce an entire year’s supply of homoeopathic treatments for the whole continent of Africa, the remedies being for the most part produced by a number of private laboratories in Lagos. The mosquito is ground in a tiny mortar with an even tinier pestle, and the extract added to a certain quantity of distilled water, a small portion of which is then diluted again in a greater quantity of distilled water, and so on until a 13C or greater dilution is achieved. The dilution is only half the battle, however, as homoeopathic principles also require that the solution be subject to succussion, or shaking up. This is achieved by pouring the solution into a number of hollowed-out balls and allowing the natives to play cricket with them. After everyone has enjoyed a rousing game, the balls are collected and emptied, and the solution sold in compounding pharmacies all over Africa.

Note that this preparation will not in fact either prevent or cure malaria. It does, however, provide priceless entertainment to the natives, many of whom have advanced degrees in science and have never seen anything so silly.