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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid