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Malaria: The Fight Continues!

Societe
Brenda YUFEH NCHEWNANG-NGASSA | 10-01-2017 10:35

Government seeks to reinforce all measures put in place to eradicate the disease.

Malaria can start with a single mosquito bite. That is why every community member needs to have access to personal protection from mosquitoes. This can be in the form of cost-effective mosquito repellents made available locally and having a treated mosquito net to sleep under. Malaria is a leading cause of hospital visits and deaths in the country. Victims are mostly children and pregnant women. Everyone in Cameroon is considered at risk.

Proper Hygiene, Bed Nets

Poor drainage leaves standing water in which mosquitoes breed. In fighting the malaria vector, health officials say the public has a great role it must play. Proper hygiene can greatly curb malaria and reduce infections. That is why during this season, inhabitants are advised to do indoor residual spraying and keep their surroundings clean as well as avoid standing dirty water which usually harbors malaria mosquitoes.

In a bid to further combat the malaria vector, the government had embarked on the distribution of Long-lasting Treated Insecticide Mosquito Bed nets. Over 20 million mosquito bed nets have been distributed since 2011 in all the ten regions of the country. As the distribution continues, people are been urged to adopt the habit of sleeping under mosquito nets correctly. 

Treatment

The government has also scaled up affordable treatment using a combination of anti-malaria drugs. As part of the push to end malaria, patients pay less than FCFA 1,000 for several days’ treatment. Other measures include free intermittent treatment of women as from four months of pregnancy, and the free treatment for children less than five years old. Health officials say universal protection and effective treatments are paying off.

The National Malaria Control Committee’s reports show a steady fall in malaria infections since the end of 2008, when the sickness rate was around 44.5 per cent. Now, malaria prevalence stands at 30 per cent.  But the gains remain fragile and people are called to effectively take malaria treatment so as to avoid resistance to the treatment.

Vaccine, Hopeful!

The Centre Pasteur Cameroun Malaria Research Laboratory in Yaounde is a national reference centre with equipment for scanning parasites in order to develop vaccines or drugs. Other equipment in the facility include immune-fluorescent microscopes to detect parasites in the bio-safety Level 2 laboratory. This enables staff to grow parasites to see if they are sensitive to available drugs or not. However, there are promising malaria research vaccines developed by GlaxoSmithKline and other researcher. 

Cameroon-born Professor Rose Leke, has also shown researchers interest in the immunology of parasitic infections, particularly malaria. Cameroon has also participated in a Central African sub-regional meeting that was held to validate decision-making framework tool on malaria vaccine. 

 

 

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