Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis in Cameroon

Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma. In Cameroon, the USAID-funded Act to End NTDs I West consortium led by FHI 360 supports efforts in disease elimination and control.

Helen Keller Intl has been a major implementing partner with the Ministry of Health in the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases like this one by treating entire at-risk communities with medicines that prevent infections, a strategy known as mass drug administration (MDA).

Thanks to the success of programs, 18.2 million people in all known endemic districts of Cameroon are now no longer in need of treatment for lymphatic filariasis.

In Cameroon’s Sangmelima district, MDA has been stopped but Act | West remains vigilant to ensure the disease does not return by using a series of surveys - an activity known as transmission assessment surveys. These images capture the third and final survey that is conducted to ensure that lymphatic filariasis infections have not returned and the population is no longer at risk. This survey is the ultimate step in determining a program's success in reducing transmission.

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Because infection usually happens during childhood and can cause hidden damage to the lymphatic system, these screenings are typically conducted among school children.


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These pictures were taken at the St. Joseph Catholic Bilingual School in southern Cameroon, where students underwent blood tests to check for infections, indicating whether the disease may be spreading in the area.


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In these pictures, children are giving a fingerpick of blood. These blood tests play a crucial role in helping check if someone has had or currently has an infection with the parasite that causes lymphatic filariasis.


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Here, lab technician Njoumbe Nicolas screens a student with a blood test. In Cameroon, 67% of the areas where lymphatic filariasis used to be common have now passed the third and final transmission assessment surveys, meaning the population in these districts are no longer at risk of the disease.


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Surveys like this one play a crucial role in shaping future public health plans and actions for lymphatic filariasis. They also help determine whether efforts against the disease are working or if more needs to be done. Helen Keller Intl teams in Cameroon and around the world are committed to working with partners to help communities prevent, treat and eliminate devastating diseases like lymphatic filariasis.