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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid