News / Africa

Malaria Re-Emerges in Cameroon

FILE - Two children and their mother rest under a mosquito net.
FILE - Two children and their mother rest under a mosquito net.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Malaria is on the rise in some areas of Cameroon, where some people are using mosquito nets for fishing or have developed resistance to anti-malaria drugs. 

A close-up look at the net Ibrahim Fokoue, 25, pulls from the dark waters of Lake Noun in West Cameroon, bears similarities to the insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets distributed in Cameroon as part of a Roll Back Malaria campaign.

Ibrahim confirms that the net was given to him by some health care workers. "Some people came here and gave us these nets to use when sleeping," he said.  "But I prefer to use them in fishing because they can suffocate someone, since enough air does not pass through the nets," he noted. "It is good for fishing.”

Ibrahim is just one of many fishermen who have decided to use the mosquito-repelling bed nets as fishing tools.  

This frustates activists such as Dr. Kwake Simon Fozo, who works for the non-governmental organization Plan Cameroon and the Global Fund for Malaria Project.  

“In rural communities they misuse the nets out of ignorance, and precisely this [Malaria] Global Fund Project in Cameroon is out to ensure that those bed nets are used for the purposes for which they were intended,” Kwake said.

One strategy

Failure to use the nets as intended has led to an increase in the number of Cameroonians suffering from malaria, especially in rural areas.

At a local health center near Magwa in West Cameroon, 32-year-old Grace Forcap and her six-month-old baby, receive malaria treatment.  She said she has not been using bed nets. “I do not sleep under the net," she admitted, adding that "Nets suffocate or are hot.”

Dr. Talla Easter of the Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria said because of that attitude she sees an alarming rise in malaria infections.  “Today we see that out of 100 people who are consulting at any health facility, 40 to 50 are consulting because of malaria.  Out of 10 children who are dying," Easter explained. "Four are dying because of malaria.”

Seeking medical attention

Talla Easter said even greater numbers may be suffering from the disease because a majority of Cameroonians do not go to conventional health centers where statistical data is collected. “The figures do not even portray the reality," Easter stated. "These cases are seen at the level of health facilities.  Most of the cases of illness and death happen at home, in the community so there are not even recorded.  It's malaria, if you don’t start treatment within 24 hours things move so fast and the baby dies.  You hear all other reasons but malaria.  Malaria is killing.”

The increase in the number of malaria cases is also attributed to resistance people are developing to treatment, mainly because of HIV and AIDS.

Kwake Simon Fozo said they have encouraging the use of recommended medication. “Following WHO recommendations, we moved from the use of chloroquine to amodiaquine and later on we adopted the artemisinin combined therapies.  It's logical that treatment of malaria for those who have HIV is more difficult,” he explained.

Statistics at Cameroon's Ministry of Health indicate that 5 million cases of malaria are reported each year, with children below four years constituting the bulk of the patients.

About 10 million insecticidal mosquito bed nets have been distributed free of charge in a program initiated by the government to reduce malaria related deaths by half, by 2015.

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

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