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

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs