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Mosquito Nets Pitched For Football Encounters 

By Maxcel Fokwen

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Pleas from Government officials urging the population to properly use treated mosquito bed nets, to enhance the drive towards eradicating malaria and other diseases seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Recently, distributed mosquito bed nets, within the context of campaigns against malaria, have surfaced on football pitches around neighbourhoods in Kumba. Children are now using the new mosquito nets to erect nets for football encounters.

In the Kumba Town neighbourhood, The Post found a group of teenagers a couple of days ago who have made nonsense of the Government effort.
Quizzed if they know the use of the nets, one of the teenagers admitted that it was meant to fight the mosquitoes that transfuse the malaria parasite into the human system.

The teenager, however, said since the nets were distributed, their parents have refused to use them. Going by the youngster, the nets had been abandoned, reason why they have decided to put them to use as football nets.

Another teenager simply declared that the nets make the bed uncomfortable at night. He said sleeping under the net, coupled with heat, makes the night boresome.
This is not the first case of misuse and frustration of Government policy in Cameroon. In 2011, when Government launched the first phase of the campaign for the distribution of 11 million treated mosquito bed nets, there were multiple cases of misuse.

Cocoa nursery attendants were found using the nets to raise young cocoa plants, while hunters used them to augment the efficiency of their traps set for animals.
Women, on their part, transformed the nets to sieve garri while some used it to process ‘water fufu’.
When this unconventional use of the nets soared, some households simply auctioned the nets at give-away prices. Others exchanged the nets for bottles of beer and some simply dumped the nets to rot.
Collins Eboua, a parent of two, explained to The Post that he could not use the net because his house is not big enough to habour the net. Eboua said setting up the net and removing it every day remains troublesome.

A woman, who refused to be named, simply stated that the use of the nets appears largely ineffective, but said it would be better if researchers could make a tablet like mectizan.
These shortcomings surface amid mass sensitisation campaigns on the importance and use of the treated mosquito bed nets engaged by Government.

Though regarded as the number one enemy to human survival on the African continent, the population seems to have relegated the fear of malaria to the back burner in place of the HIV virus.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Health, malaria is responsible for 35 – 40 percent of deaths in health facilities; 50 percent morbidity among children below five years of age as well as 40 – 45 percent of medical consultations and 30 percent of hospitalisations.

Experts add that malaria is prevalent all year round in almost the entire country with the transmission period varying from 7 – 12 months.

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