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.
Current Status: Transmission stopped, 1997
Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication: 2007
Current Guinea worm case reports >
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.
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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Size: 475,440 square kilometers (slightly larger than the U.S. state of California)
Population below poverty line: 48 percent
Life expectancy: 58 years
Ethnic groups: Cameroon Highlanders, Equatorial Bantu, Kirdi, Fulani, Northwestern Bantu, Eastern Nigritic, other African, and non-African
Religions: indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim
Languages: 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2015