On November 30th, representatives from across Cameroonian ministries gathered in Yaoundé to devise ways to end malaria in the country. The meeting, initiated by the Ministry of Public Health (Minsanté), aims to pool resources and expertise to win the fight against the disease.
"Despite the government's efforts, malaria remains the leading cause of death in Cameroon," acknowledged Marthe Noëlle Bisseck, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the National Malaria Control Program (PNLP), highlighting the need to get the input of different ministries “not just in technical expertise, but also in funding."
Bisseck identified environmental factors, particularly stagnant water, as key contributors to malaria's persistence. "The Ministry of Housing's involvement in cleaning up these mosquito breeding grounds will be crucial. [...] This multi-sectoral approach, with each ministry playing a vital role, is our chance to finally eradicate this scourge," she explained.
The Minsanté-led meeting aimed to establish a comprehensive framework for this multi-sectoral fight. Cameroon aims to control and eliminate malaria by 2035. For experts, to achieve that goal, the country needs coordinated action across all sectors and levels, along with a significant boost in resources. Meanwhile, Marthe Noëlle Bisseck reveals that the fight is faced with one serious obstacle, which is funding.
"Currently, we rely on one or two major donors for basic interventions like distributing mosquito nets. It’s no longer enough. We need more, and these ministries can provide answers to that need,” she said.
In short, Ministries will be called to support the multi-sectoral coordination, drawing from their internal resources. "Malaria is a shared concern that affects everyone. The resulting mortality not only leads to a shortage of manpower across various ministries but also contributes to chronic absenteeism, impacting schools and workplaces alike. All ministries must recognize and respond to this issue collectively," Bisseck emphasized.
The platform set up by the Minsanté will allow each Ministry to state their contributions to the coordinated fight.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem