Despite the astonishing headway in the prevention, diagnoses, and treatment of malaria, there are still alarming challenges hindering the fight against the disease. The lack of [or] inadequate sustainable international and domestic funding, the risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones, the inconsistent climate pattern, the emergence of parasites resistance to antimalarial medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides are some of the challenges that the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services continues to grapple with.
It is against this background that the CBC Health Services joined the global community to commemorate World Malaria Day on April 25, 2018 under the theme, “Ready to Beat Malaria”. The event, therefore, presented an opportunity for the CBC Health Services to reflect on the progress which has been made in the struggle against malaria through her Malaria Control and Prevention Program. The theme highlights the communal enthusiasm and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting for the common goal of a malaria-free world.
CBC Director of Health Services (DHS), Prof. Tih Pius Muffih is one man who is particularly keen about the efforts towards eliminating malaria from our communities. In a communiqué addressed to all CBC Health Services’ facilities, the public health expert said, “Our Malaria Control and Prevention Program is committed to ensuring standard management reference for patients in order to attain uniform malaria case management in all our health facilities. The program has written diagnostic and management guidelines, communication and training manuals, to facilitate our intervention”.
Prof. Tih encouraged health personnel to make maximum use of these documents. He noted that “The program has also updated reporting forms to track key indicators and keep data that can be used in measuring and evaluating our efforts against malaria.”
The CBC Health Services Malaria Control Program has presented papers at the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) symposium and at the Pan African Malaria Conference in Dakar, Senegal. The program was equally represented at the training workshop for Managers of National Malaria Control Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa which held this May 2018 in Bamako-Mali. These efforts by the CBC Health Services are geared towards the global goal to beat Malaria.
CBC Health Services’ Malaria Control and Prevention Program Focal Point, Dr. Nfor Emmanuel Nfor has been commenting on the challenges the organization has faced for her over six decades of fighting malaria.
“Our health facilities found in seven of the ten regions of Cameroon are definitely in areas with different transmission patterns because of the different epidemiological facets that Cameroon has,” said Dr. Nfor.
He added that, “The malaria burden in Douala cannot be compared with that of Ndu. So, we have personnel across the board that consults patients presenting with different manifestations of malaria because of the environment in which they are found.”
The Focal Point further revealed that one of the issues that the Malaria Control and Prevention Program has to deal with is making sure that there is the uniform management of malaria across the CBC Health Services.
He stressed that there must be a diagnosis to confirm that the patient has malaria before treatment is given, while emphasizing the need for a standard line of treatment which should be in line with the National and WHO guidelines.
Another challenge, Dr. Nfor, pointed out is the unavailability of free malaria drugs for children less than five years and drugs for Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTP). He regretted that the supply of these drugs by the National Malaria Control Program has been irregular necessitating the CBC Health Services’ Central Pharmacy to sometimes buy and supply these drugs free of charge without any government subventions.
The program is working hard to monitor and report malaria in over 80 CBC Health Services’ facilities. Focal Persons are now present across the board and report on a monthly basis the suspected, confirmed and treated cases, and malaria-related deaths.
“Malaria is a disease that does not depend on the health personnel only, for the fight to be successful, everybody has to be involved… We need political commitment…,” advised Dr. Nfor. He further called on the population to sleep under treated mosquito bed nets and avoid misusing nets for activities like fishing, and protecting seedling nurseries.
By and large, Prof. Tih Pius has called for striking commitment and extended coverage of established tools that avert, diagnose and treat malaria within the CBC Health Services.