Effective Teamwork Saves Lives with Successful Malaria Campaign

  • Published Date: April 2017
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The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and its partners have made
vast advancements in malaria control efforts in Cameroon; from a successful
Long-lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) mass distribution campaign, to
strengthening and standardizing malaria case management using rapid
diagnostic tests (RDTs), Artemisinin Combined Therapy (ACT), and the
intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp). Despite
these efforts, morbidity and mortality rates of malaria in children under five in
the North and Far North of the country remains high, particularly during the
rainy season lasting from July to October. In the past year, the NMCP looked
to decrease morbidity and mortality rates in children under five in these
regions, capitalize on lessons learned, and better coordinate with
stakeholders to effectively plan, organize, and monitor an effective
intervention to address this public health concern.
 
To develop an appropriate strategy to respond to these challenges, the NMCP
used concepts they learned through the Leadership Development Program
Plus (LDP+) training, implemented by the USAID-funded Leadership,
Management and Governance (LMG/NMCP) project for NMCP staff, which
emphasizes scanning, focusing, aligning and mobilizing stakeholders.
 
In collaboration with its technical malaria partners, the NMCP implemented a
Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Campaign (SMC) in the North and Far
North of Cameroon in 2016. Dr. Ewane Germaine Ekoyol, the Head of the
NMCP Malaria Case Management Unit, was elected as the focal person of the
activity, which was financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the
Global Fund. The planning committee created for this activity was composed
of NMCP staff and sub recipients (SRs) of the Global Fund grant, including
Malaria No More, MC-CCAM, IRESCO, and Plan International, in collaboration
with LMG/NMCP, WHO, and UNICEF, who provided technical support to
develop an action plan, provide training materials, develop messaging and
communication for the activity, and monitor equipment.
 
The success of the SMC campaign, coupled with ongoing malaria prevention
and control efforts, contributed to a significant decrease in malaria morbidity
with rates dropping by 47% in the North (from 36,024 cases in October 2015
to 19,044 cases in October 2016), and by 60% (or 75,364 cases in 2015
compared to 44,971 cases in 2016) in the Far North, and an overall decrease
in malaria mortality rate of 59% and 74% in the North and Far North of
Cameroon, respectively, since the start of the campaign, according to data
from 2016. Dr. Ekoyol credited the LDP+ training with a key role in the success
of the intervention, since it helped partners effectively work together to
address a challenge and achieve a successful result. “As part of the NMCP
staff, I am happy that we were able to organize a truly successful first SMC
campaign in Cameroon, in collaboration with our SRs and with the technical
support of our partners, in particular the WHO, UNICEF, ISD, and MSH.”