News / Africa

Hospitals Overflow as Malaria Spikes in Northern Cameroon

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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs