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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid