where we work


Fighting Disease

In 1997, with assistance from The Carter Center, Cameroon became one of the first countries to stop transmission of Guinea worm disease since the campaign began in 1986. The Carter Center participated in river blindness elimination efforts in Cameroon until August 2012.

+Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease

Previous Status: Transmission stopped, 1997
Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication: 2007

Indigenous human cases reported in 2023: 1*
Animal infections reported in 2023: 249*

Current Guinea worm case reports >

Ten dogs were reported with Guinea worm infections in Cameroon in 2021; they were in a border area contiguous with an endemic area of Chad where families frequently flow across the border, so the infections are assumed to have originated in Chad.

Cameroon was certified by the World Health Organization as Guinea worm-free in 2007. The country reported one human case in 2020 and one in 2019; like the dog infections, both cases occurred in border communities and were considered to have originated in Chad. Because it has not had three years of indigenous transmission, Cameroon is not considered endemic.

In 1989, the Carter Center-led program in Cameroon began hosting what became known as National Guinea Worm Days to increase awareness about the disease and promote prevention techniques.

Prevention methods included education and assistance for safely treating ponds with ABATE® larvicide (donated by BASF), straining water with nylon filters, and providing clean water from borehole wells. In addition, local regional health care workers and village-based volunteers reported cases and educated others about the disease. The provision of a safe water supply was especially problematic in Kangaleri, the most endemic village in Cameroon. The water table was more than 100 meters below the surface, making drilling a well extremely difficult.

In 1994, a cash reward system was initiated for those who adhered to case reporting and case containment measures.

Cameroon was honored at a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta in 2000 for having stopped Guinea worm disease transmission. In 2007, the World Health Organization certified Cameroon as free of Guinea worm disease.

*All figures for humans and animals are provisional until officially confirmed, typically in March each year.

+Controlling River Blindness

In the early 1990s, the River Blindness Foundation began assisting Cameroon's Ministry of Health to distribute Mectizan® (ivermectin, donated by Merck) in North province, and in 1996, The Carter Center assumed the River Blindness Foundation. In partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the program began working in the West province of Cameroon. Community-directed distributors (CDDs) were trained and supervised in the use of the kinship strategy, a more efficient, kinship group-focused method for the distribution of Mectizan.

In 2011, in the West region of Cameroon, Carter Center-assisted programs delivered nearly 1.4 million treatments for river blindness and trained nearly 15,000 CDDs, exceeding the 2011 training objective.

The Carter Center closed its office in Cameroon in August 2012.

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