News / Africa

Hospitals Overflow as Malaria Spikes in Northern Cameroon

x
The death toll from malaria in north Cameroon has risen to 2,500.  The minister of health says treated mosquito bed nets that are supposed to be distributed free are instead sold in hospitals or exported to neighboring countries.  Meanwhile, hospitals say they no longer have space for patients as the epidemic keeps growing.

Tanimou Maimouna cries in front of the Bon Secours clinic in Maroua as her 11-month old daughter dies from malarial complications.  Her family is just one among thousands who have lost loved ones since a malaria spike began in the far north in September.

Cameroon's Minister of Health Andre Mamma Fouda said the number of cases have spiraled.

He said 657,754 patients have been treated in local hospitals with more than 180,000 diagnosed with malaria.  He said 75 percent of those had simple malaria while the rest presented with serious or deadly complications.

The Health Ministry confirmed more than 2,600 people have died - many of them pregnant women and children.  But local newspapers reported a much higher death toll.

Minister Fouda said the government was responding rapidly to the growing demands being placed on local hospitals.

He said highly specialized equipment has been brought in to quickly diagnose suspected cases, and they have increased the supply of the latest anti-malaria drugs at highly subsidized rates. 

He said children under 5 years of age with uncomplicated cases of malaria were being treated for free.

The government also said it has intensified the free distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets.

But Suzan Birni, a nurse, said most facilities like the Pont Vert hospital in Maroua where she worked have not received the nets to distribute to pregnant women.

“For quite some time now there are no mosquito bed nets to distribute.  So when a woman delivers they just ask them [her] to go back without any bed net,” she said.

Newspaper reports accused some of the hospital staff of selling the bed nets in neighboring countries like Chad.

Nigerian-born Johnson Nnandi is a local market vendor who said that he bought and sold treated bed nets for about $10 to $15 each.

“At times we sell one for six thousand francs, at times seven thousand francs.  But when business is not going on well we sell for 5,000 francs," he said.

Back at the Pont Vert hospital in Maroua, the situation is getting desperate.

Mr. and Mrs. Abdoulaye Abbo have been receiving treatment outside in the courtyard as there is not space inside.  The couple and their baby are all suffering from malaria.

Despite the substandard conditions, they sid they appreciated the hospital staff for working hard to save lives.

He said he was the first to get malaria, then his wife, and now they were back at the hospital with their daughter.  He thought the malaria was the worst ever this year.

Malaria cases constitute the highest number of consultations in Cameroon’s hospitals, and the death rate from the disease stands at 28 percent.

Health officials in Cameroon blame the epidemic on the refusal of people to use treated mosquito bed nets, the fact that many people do not respect basic hygiene standards, the failure to clear outdoor standing water, and people who do not visit health facilities when they have early signs of malaria.

The World Health Organization warns that waiting six hours for treatment can mean death to a child sick with malaria.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More