Public health officials have said improving health care for persons suffering from Malaria, Cholera,Yellow Fever and other seasonal diseases is imperative, even as the battle against the deadly virus rages on.
The officials want to upgrade health care to patients suffering from seasonal diseases at a time when confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on a downward trend .
As of Thursday September 18, 20371 confirmed cases have been reported alongside 19124 recoveries, and 416 deaths. The country currently has a recovery rate of 93.87% on record, with 831 active cases, 35 in-patients, and 03 on oxygen. The case fatality rate is 2%, severity 0.36%, and bed occupancy is 1.11% .
Although the COVID-19 figures have consistently remained low, Cameroon’s communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, recently said the only way to conquer the virus is for all Cameroonians to strictly respect the preventive measures.
COVID19 or Malaria ?
The COVID-19 pandemic has dragged into the rainy season, when seasonal diseases are very common.
Interesting, Public Health officials say some seasonal diseases like Malaria present the same symptoms as COVID-19, and it is not possible to tell what a person is suffering from, just by observing the symptoms.
In Cameroon, up to 11 million Malaria cases are reported yearly. The disease is responsible for 10,000 annual deaths , 61% of them, kids of less than 5 years.
In order to effectively monitor the spread of Malaria during this time, Public Health officials say Cameroonians must be systematically screened when symptoms of either of the diseases are reported.
Speaking at a recent press briefing on COVID-19, Dr. George Mballa Etoundi, Incident Manager said ” only tests will differentiate between Malaria from COVID-19″.
Malaria treatment is free for kids of less than 5 years in Cameroon , while treatment for COVID19 is entirely free for everyone irrespective of their age .
Sustaining the fight against Malaria
To prevent more Malaria infections, treated mosquito bed nets have been distributed to households in 7 of the country’s 10 regions. Plans are underway to distribute the nets to households in the North West , South West and Centre regions.
According to Public Health officials, the Mosquito bed net has proven to be the most effective way of preventing Malaria.
In the three Northern regions, the anti-Malaria campaign is accompanied by routine administration of anti-Malaria drugs to kids aged between 3 months to 5 years.
During the rainy season, Malaria is said to affect up to 1.7 million kids in these regions.
Kathy Neba Sina