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Health News of Monday, 21 April 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Public Invited to Fight Vector-Borne Diseases

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All actors of society, especially the population and councils, have been urged by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Public Health in charge of Epidemics and Pandemics, Alim Hayatou, to be involved in ensuring hygiene and sanitation in various neighbourhoods in order to eliminate vectors of diseases such as mosquitoes, ticks, flies and freshwater snails.

Speaking while presiding at the commemoration of the World Health Day on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in Yaounde, Alim Hayatou said clean household surroundings will help quell the impact of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, yellow fever, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, sleeping sickness and bilharzias, amongst others, which all put together, constitute a health problem in Cameroon.

From the lot, malaria alone affects 1.6 million persons in Cameroon per year, causing 3,200 deaths among whom 2,000 in children under two. "Vector-borne diseases constitute a heavy social and economic burden for our country," he regretted, pointing out that actions such as sensitisation and vaccination campaigns, free treatment in some cases and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets have been intensified by government and its development partners to reverse the trend.

The commemoration last Thursday by the Ministry of Public Health, development partners and civil society organisations came barely 10 days after the World Health Day was officially celebrated in the world on the theme "Vector-borne diseases: small bite, big threat." Over one million deaths, it was reported, were caused by vector-borne diseases in the world. Factors contributing to the prevalence of the diseases include environmental and climate changes as well as precarious living conditions. More so, vector resistance to insecticides constitutes a serious threat to vector control.

On her part, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Charlotte Faty Ndiaye, disclosed that 337 million cases of malaria were prevented between 2001 and 2012. While praying that efforts aimed at distributing insecticide-treated nets and disinfecting home surroundings continue, she promised Cameroonian authorities WHO's continuous support. A short play on Yellow Fever and the achievements of the Yaounde II Council in ensuring vector control, also featured in the event.

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