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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora