By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
The Permanent Secretary of the National Malaria Control Programme, NMCP, Dr. Dorothy Ashu, has disclosed that malaria kills at least 4,000 people each year in Cameroon.
Dr. Ashu made the disclosure on March 2, 2017 in Yaounde while presenting the national strategy to fight against malaria at a sensitisation workshop for personnel of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, MINTSS, on the dangers of the disease, its diagnosis and prevention.
Presenting the situation of the fight against malaria in the country, Dr. Ashu said many people identify the NMCP with the distribution of the long lasting treated mosquito bed nets.
She admitted that the distribution of the nets is one of their visible activities geared at combating malaria even though there are many other things they do amongst which are, coordination of activities and the mobilisation of resources for the fight against malaria.
Ashu was speaking within the framework of activities building up to the commemoration of the 32nd International Women Day on March 8 organised by Malaria No More, MNM, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, MINSANTE and MINTSS with support from the EXXONMOBIL/COTCO Foundation.
She stated that according to data gathered from across the country, at least 2 million cases of patients suffering from malaria are recorded in health facilities and out of that figure; at least 4,000 people are killed by the disease.
Ashu added that the figure is likely to be higher because there are many other cases that are not taken to the health units. She said as of 2011, the prevalence rate of malaria in Cameroon was 33.3 percent while morbidity and mortality stood at 30 percent.
Dr. Ashu noted that the consequences of malaria are enormous on the patients, households and the national economy.
The disease results to loss of weight, severe anaemia, convulsive crisis, abortion, etc. She said the socio-economic consequences include poor performances in school, absenteeism at work, drop in productivity, different psycho-emotional crisis, increased poverty considering that it takes 40 percent of household health expenditure.
The medic cautioned the participants that not all fevers are synonymous to malaria reason why tests must be conducted to ascertain that somebody is suffering from the disease before treatment is engaged.
Describing the female anopheles mosquito that spreads malaria as the enemy, Ashu said prevention remains the main strategy of malaria control.
She reiterated that sleeping under the long lasting treated mosquito net is the most effective tool used across the world to control malaria.
Meanwhile, the MNM Country Director for Cameroon, Olivia Ngou, said the NGO that has existed in Cameroon since 2006, and is working in line with the objective of the World Health Organisation, WHO, geared at eradicating malaria by 2030.
Referring to the target of MINSANTE, Ngou noted that they are also working along with them to reduce malaria-related deaths by 75 percent come 2018.
Ngou said their programmes target all segments of society and people of all backgrounds as they use three main axis notably communication, advocacy and social mobilisation to pass across key messages aimed at combating malaria. She particularly mentioned the key role MNM played in the distribution of some 8 million long lasting treated mosquito bed nets in 2011, 2015 and 2016. She also talked of the role of the 24 K.O. PALU Ambassadors in communities and schools where people are educated on the proper use of the mosquito nets.
One of the ambassadors, Dorette Bouwe Zitou, told the participants that good health has no price and that just listening to a piece of advice in a workshop like the one MNM organised and putting it into practice can positively change many things in one’s life.
Opening the workshop earlier, the Inspector General at MINTSS, Dr. Jean Calvin Naoussi Sadeu, hailed MINSANTE, the NMCP and MNM for sensitising the personnel of the ministry on malaria.
He said everyone is likely aware of the ravaging effects of malaria reason why he urged his collaborators to demonstrate discipline, be attentive and make good use of the messages delivered.
The participants went home with various gadgets carrying anti-malaria messages as well as the long lasting treated mosquito bed nets.