News / Africa

Cameroon Winning Battle to Reduce Malaria

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid