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Cameroon Facing Malaria Outbreak, ARV Shortages

“Nearly 800 people have died in a recent malaria outbreak in northern Cameroon, one described by public health officials as ‘a severe and sudden epidemic,'” CNN reports. “Doctors treating more than 12,000 victims of the disease say those who died in the past three weeks were mostly young children and pregnant women,” the news service writes. According to CNN, “a panel of Cameroonian journalists on state radio [on Wednesday] criticized the government for not spreading the news about the outbreak and not requesting international aid,” and “[o]bservers have criticized President Paul Biya of ignoring the mounting malaria death toll as he focuses on lavish preparations to celebrate his 31 years in the presidency November 6” (10/30).

In similar news, “[t]he government of Cameroon says it cannot supply antiretrovirals [ARVs] to half of the patients who need them because of a drastic shortage of the drugs,” VOA News reports. According to health officials, the number of patients receiving HIV treatment has increased from about 28,000 in 1998 to about 200,000 this year, “but government assistance to treat HIV/AIDS has remained stagnant,” the news service notes. VOA states, “Minister of Public Health Andre Mama Fouda attributed the shortage to the increasing number of people receiving [ARVs]” (Kindzeka, 10/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.