News / Africa

Cameroon Winning Battle to Reduce Malaria

Eugene Nforngwa
YAOUNDE, Cameroon — It’s a Monday morning at the Yaounde central hospital, and one of the busiest days of the week for the doctors and nurses who work here. Hundreds of sick people wait for their turn in one of the consultation rooms. For many, their fate is known in advance. One in four will be diagnosed with malaria.
 
Malaria is a leading cause of hospital visits – and death - in the country. Victims are mostly children and pregnant women.  Everyone in Cameroon is considered at risk. Last year, the disease inflicted more than 1.8 million people.
 
Sunny and humid, most of Cameroon is a breeding ground for anopheles mosquitoes that transmit the malaria parasite.  The country’s 20 million people are now on the frontline of the war on malaria in Africa.
 
Dr. Esther Tallah is the manager of the Cameroon Coalition against Malaria and a major player in the struggle against the disease. She says the war is being won by expanding effective prevention and treatment.       
 
"Once you invest in the right things that we know work for malaria prevention and control, you see results immediately," she said,
 
"The world has shown and repeatedly proven that when [people] adopt the habit of sleeping under mosquito nets and that you achieve universal coverage you see a drop in the incidence of malaria.
 
"If the country decides that they want to do indoor residual spraying, and they do it effectively," she continued, "you see a drop in the incidence of malaria. In some cases, countries decide to combine indoor residual spraying and sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets."
 
The government and NGOs like Tallah’s coalition distributed more than eight million long-lasting insecticidal nets nationwide.
 
The government has also scaled up affordable treatment using a combination of anti-malaria drugs including artemisinin.  Together, they attack the reproductive cycle of the malaria parasite, thereby curing and reducing transmission at the same time.
 
As part of the push to end malaria, patients pay less than $1 (U.S.) for several days’ treatment. Pregnant women and children under that age of five are treated for free.
 
Health officials say universal protection and effective treatments are paying off. Doctors across the country are seeing fewer and fewer patients each year.
 
Cases reported by hospitals dropped to 28 percent in April 2012 from 30 percent in April 2011. The National Malaria Control Committee’s reports show a steady fall since the end of 2008, when the sickness rate was around 44.5 percent.
 
But the gains remain fragile.
 
In most of Cameroon, poor drainage leaves standing water in which mosquitoes breed. Health workers say many people have nets but are not using them. The mosquitoes are also developing resistance to insecticides.  
 
Talla says such problems are being tackled.
 
"The national anti-malaria commission has conducted studies, and we have a map of resistance to insecticides by the anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria," she said. "There is a plan to follow up on that and put in place a system that ensures that that is taken into account."

She said  that even where there's resistance, the nets are still effective, "though the people who produce the nets are conscious of resistance and are coming out with a third-generation nets that combine two products."
 
Cameroon hopes to reduce malaria infections in the country by 50 percent in a few years. For the first time, campaigners are already talking about ending the scourge.
 
But to eradicate malaria in Cameroon, Tallah says the public must play its part. Early treatment, correct use of long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets and hygienic living can greatly reduce new infections.

Listern to report on malaria in Cameroon
Listern to report on malaria in Camerooni
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: paul from: U.S.
August 27, 2012 11:12 AM
Are the methods used in mid 1900s to eradicate malaria in Europe, the U.S. and other countries being used in Africa?


by: littleyan from: china
August 26, 2012 8:49 AM
Hope the Cameroom will win this tough war.Hope we can find new useful methods to end this scourge.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid