Cameroon: US support to fight against onchocerciasis

A mass distribution campaign of Mectizan took place on September 6, 2022 in the Minkama 3 village located in the health district of Obala.

Three posts are installed in front of the large courtyard which welcomes the personalities this September 6, 2022 in the village Minkama 3, a locality located in the district of Obala, Center region. A graduated ruler for community health workers to take the size, Mectizan tablets are placed in front of each post. This setting was set up as part of the major mass distribution campaign of Mectizan to the populations of this locality, as part of the fight against onchocerciasis. You must be at least five years old to benefit from a few Mectizan tablets for free. “The number of tablets given to each person depends on their size. Each person who receives the pills is obliged to abstain from alcohol consumption for at least 48 hours. The next dose will be administered next year at the same time,” says a community health worker.

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To appreciate the quality of the onchocerciasis control campaign, His Excellency Christopher Lamora, United States Ambassador to Cameroon went to Minkama 3 to take part in the mass distribution of Mectizan. A strong delegation made up of the Prefect of Lékié, the Sub-Prefect of the district of Obala, the Mayor of the Commune of Obala, the Regional Delegate of Public Health for the Center and the National Director of the Ong Helen Keller International take part in this ceremony. As part of this campaign, the American diplomat came to touch on the impact of the support of the American people in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The objective of this campaign is to treat at least 80% of the total population of Minkama 3. The campaign took place within the framework of the Act To End Ntds | West funded by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), managed globally by FHI360 and implemented in Cameroon by Helen Keller International.

Onchocerciasis or river blindness is one of the 18 neglected tropical diseases identified in Cameroon. It is a parasitic disease caused by a worm called onchocerca volvulus. The Mectizan mass distribution campaign against onchocerciasis highlights the technical and financial assistance program of the NGO Helen Keller International to the Ministry of Public Health in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. This program has received US government funding for more than five years. This initiative is in addition to several other programs of the NGO Helen Keller International in Cameroon. Thanks to other funding from the US government, Helen Keller International is leading the food voucher project, which has reached approximately 90 households with a package of interventions to fight malnutrition in the Far North region.

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The Food for Education project has also improved school attendance for children under ten in the North region. The vitamin A supplementation program, financed by private American funds, makes it possible to reach around 2,3 million children under the age of five each year, thus preventing them from pathologies such as blindness. The Act | West through which more than 9 million people are treated for onchocerciasis and nearly 16 million Cameroonians have received drugs for lymphatic filariasis. In Cameroon, all 197 health districts are endemic to at least one of the neglected tropical diseases identified.

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