TFF Calls for a Joint Effort to Fight Malaria
Eden Newspaper
September 2, 2009

By Lionel Nkwenti and Mihalis Ndalle (UB Students on internship)

Dr. Chris Fomunyoh:
TFF Founder/President
The Fumonyoh Foundation has called for a new joint effort by community leaders, faith-based organisations, politicians and the public to fight malaria in Cameroon.

The call was made on 31 August in Bamenda, during a monthly seminar on HIV/AIDS and malaria. The seminar focused on explaining malaria and its causes, prevention, and elimination. The theme was “Recent Developments on Malaria Prevention and Management”.

Two talks, “Malaria Prevention and Management in Cameroon” and “Update on Malaria Research”, were delivered by local experts Dr. Simon Kwake and Dr. Emmanuel Nfor. According to both doctors, malaria is a serious health problem in Africa — especially Sub-Saharan Africa, of which Cameroon is a part. They revealed that the disease, which is caused by a parasite known as plasmodium, is usually injected into the bloodstream by the female anopheles mosquito and is the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. Malaria mostly affects those in rural areas, especially pregnant women and children below the age of five. This is a result of poverty and local climate and conditions.

It is estimated there are 300 to 500 million clinical cases of malaria in the world each year, resulting in one to three million deaths. It was also disclosed that 40% of a typical household’s budget in Cameroon is spent on malaria treatment, 30% of admissions to hospitals are malaria cases, and 40% of deaths among children are caused by the disease.

In addition, 109 countries on the globe are affected by malaria, while in Africa 247 million people are carrying the disease. Africa and South East Asia are the hardest hit, with 91 of the 109 countries affected by the pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 60% of the total number of malaria cases in Africa, while in Cameroon about 900 cases are recorded every year.

Despite this high prevalence, the two doctors said the population can find solace and a glimmer of hope in the fact that researchers are making a major effort to eradicate the disease. They announced that a new anti-malaria vaccine has been produced, and although it has not yet made a difference, a virus found in chimpanzees will be used by researchers for the first time to boost the efficacy of the vaccine. They further noted that 80 percent of households in Cameroon have been given treated mosquito nets to protect them as they sleep. Also, eleven countries with the disease are fighting it while six countries where malaria has been eradicated are fighting to prevent it from making a return.

The seminar was attended by representatives of civil organisations, students and the public. 

© Eden Newspaper