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.
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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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