News / Africa

Cameroon Launches Massive Swine Flu Vaccine Campaign

It includes response to skeptics, who say vaccine is part of plot by West to render people sterile

Multimedia

Audio

The five-day immunization campaign ends on Saturday [30 October]. It‘s free of charge but is not intended for all Cameroonians.

The government says it only has a limited amount of the vaccine from the WHO and is targeting population segments with the highest risks of contracting the H1N1 virus.

Dr. Robinson Mbu is director of family health at the Ministry of Health says the available 1.3 million doses of the vaccine are destined for children aged 5 to 15 years, people above 65, women in at least the fourth month of pregnancy, health workers and people with chronic ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, sickle cell and HIV.

The nationwide vaccination effort follows a government announcement in October that 75 cases of H1N1 had been detected. The Ministry of Health says no deaths have been recorded. A swine flu pandemic killed tens of thousands across the world last year.

Cameroon Launches Massive Swine Flu Vaccine Campaign
Cameroon Launches Massive Swine Flu Vaccine Campaign

H1N1 is a contagious respiratory virus containing a combination of different influenza viruses endemic in pigs. Scientists say transmission from animals to humans is not common. They say it is not contracted by eating properly cooked pork, although people who often come in contact with swine may be more exposed to the virus.

It is spread among people when infected persons cough, sneeze or speak. People can also get infected by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. Within a day, they may be contagious, even before they begin to exhibit symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. Health care practitioners say the resemblance to flu makes early detection a problem and can facilitate its rapid spread.

Last May, 35 African countries formally notified the WHO of a combined total of 18,500 confirmed cases of the flu and a death toll of 168. South Africa alone accounted for more than two-thirds of the cases.

As a preventive measure; Cameroon inoculated a thousand supporters of its soccer team travelling to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. But the effort was not enough to prevent infections.

The renewed effort to eradicate the disease is being carried out by hundreds of health workers at public hospitals across the country. Others are going house-to-house and school-to-school to ensure its success amid concerns that pockets of resistance may emerge.

Previous vaccination campaigns for other diseases have met with resistance, especially from some religious groups that suspect a veiled scheme by the West to render parts of the population sterile.

But Dr. Tsafack Rose Ernestine, a vaccination team leader in Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, says the claims are unfounded.

She says she is counting on journalists to deflect such myths. In principle, the campaign should end on October 30 but will be extended if resistance emerges. She says about 65 million people around the world have received the vaccine and are not complaining of sterility.

The vaccine being administered in Cameroon is branded Paneza and is made in Spain. Health care practitioners say it provides immunity for between 9 and 12 months. They say its only known side effect is mild dizziness. But they warn that persons allergic to eggs should avoid getting the shot because some batches are made from them. In those who are allergic, the vaccine can provoke Guillain-Barre, a rare syndrome that can cause nervous and muscle disorders.

Local traditional rulers are joining the effort to inform the public about the vaccine. A Douala canton chief, HM Essaka Ekwalla, is calling on his subjects to ignore the skeptics and rush to be vaccinated.

He says there is nothing to lose because the vaccine is free and causes no pain. He says elderly people like himself will benefit immensely from getting vaccinated because if they are infected with the virus, it will become hard to breathe, and they could die. The vaccine, says the traditional rulers, is insurance against premature death.

Meantime, the government has been applauding the WHO and its partners for making available the vaccine at no cost. Health Minister Andre Mama Fouda says poor countries like Cameroon could not afford to fund mass inoculations on their own.

 

 

 

 

 

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid