11 million cases of malaria were recorded in Cameroon in 2020 and more than 11,000 deaths, 60% of which were children.
These were the dark figures revealed by the new Director of the Centre Pasteur, DR Mirdad Kazanji at the inauguration of the centre as the figures come to reinforce the fact malaria remains a major health concern in Cameroon.
The World Health Organisation ranks Cameroon among the 11 countries in the world that pay the heaviest price for this disease.
Thus, Dr Mirdrad Kazanji underlined that the malariology and insectarium laboratory set up at the Centre Pasteur to the tune of FCFA 100 million will provide an appropriate response to certain epidemics caused by mosquitoes.
On her part, Dr. Sandrine Nsango, one of the experts at the centre pointed out that this malariology laboratory is first and foremost an entomology platform, intended for the study of insects having an impact on human health. In this research space, work will expand on the identification of mosquitoes and their evolution over time, the study of their environment, among others. Current work concerns the transmission of Plasmodium vivax (previously rare in Cameroon), new vaccine candidates and control methods (mosquito nets, insecticides, etc.) used so far.
Dr. Jean Marc HOUGARD, representative of the Institute for Research for Development in Central Africa, while revealing that the project idea emerged during the IRD International Days, said that this achievement highlights the privileged place that Cameroon occupies in the IRD. As proof, he said, the IRD represents 10% of Cameroon’s scientific production. This raises Cameroon to the third rank of the nations which publish the most with this research center.
Launching the unit, the Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manaouda expressed satisfaction with this project which gives the possibility of developing endogenous solutions to annihilate the silent killer that is malaria. He also added that with each of his visits to the Pasteur Center, the enthusiasm and determination of the staff make him want to work ever more for the well-being of the populations. He stressed that the excellent cooperation between France and Cameroon must continue in order to meet the many challenges that still exist for access to quality care.
For Christophe Guilhou, the French Ambassador to Cameroon, this new infrastructure strengthens the historical and close ties between Cameroon and France. Its advent gives hope for significant advances in an area where expectations are high.
The malariology and insectarium laboratory is made up of four laboratories: medical entomology, molecular epidemiology, discovery of new drugs and a laboratory for the development of new analysis techniques.