CDC in Cameroon

feature image Cameroon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began initial HIV/AIDS work in Cameroon in 1998, and transitioned to a fuller HIV/AIDS program in 2008, supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In 2007, the U.S. and Cameroon began further collaborations to prevent and control HIV, influenza, malaria, and other infectious diseases. CDC also works with Cameroon to strengthen laboratory, surveillance, and workforce capacity to respond to disease outbreaks in support of the Global Health Security Agenda.

Lesotho map

What CDC is Doing in Cameroon

HIV is a leading cause of death and a health threat to millions worldwide. As a key implementer of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC’s priorities in Cameroon include scaling up access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care programs to help accelerate progress towards the UNAIDS global targets to control the HIV epidemic.

Key priority areas for CDC in Cameroon include case identification through optimization of index testing, linking people living with HIV to care and treatment, and increasing retention using psychosocial support counselors.

CDC initiated a viral load voucher program to enhance uptake and quality of differentiated service delivery to patients in need of critical care. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has approved Test and Start and task shifting policies, including differentiated service delivery models for adults and children living with HIV.

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV. CDC supports HIV testing among TB patients to ensure access to early antiretroviral therapy (ART), active TB case finding, and provision of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT).

In today’s globally connected world, disease threats can spread faster and more unpredictably than ever before. CDC’s global health security efforts in Cameroon help improve the country’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before they become epidemics that could affect global populations. These efforts help Cameroon reach the targets outlined in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a global partnership launched in 2014 to help make the world safer and more secure from infectious disease threats. Working closely with the MOH and other partners, CDC provides expertise and support across 11 technical areas, known as GHSA action packages, that help Cameroon build core public health capacities in disease surveillance, laboratory systems, workforce development, and emergency management.

CDC led efforts to establish a Public Health Emergency Operations Center for Cameroon in partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon in December 2018. CDC is assisting Cameroon to revise its integrated disease surveillance case definitions and has developed new training modules to accompany the dissemination of the new surveillance standards. CDC is assisting with piloting community-based surveillance in 3 regions and 48 health facilities, including establishing an early warning alert and response system.

CDC supports Cameroon in strengthening the capacity of its workforce to investigate and respond to disease outbreaks through the establishment of a Field Epidemiology Training Program. Launched in 2010, with support from CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program serves four Central African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, and Cameroon.

Malaria is a leading cause of death and disease in many countries and young children and pregnant women are the groups most affected. Under the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, CDC has assigned a resident advisor to the malaria-endemic country of Cameroon to support the implementation of malaria prevention and control interventions. The program focuses on the regions where malaria-related morbidity and mortality are highest. Key activities include routine distribution of insecticide-treated nets, improved entomological monitoring and insecticide and drug resistance management, improved case management in health facilities and at the community level, strengthening programs to prevent malaria in pregnancy, and provision of seasonal chemoprevention to prevent malaria in children under five during the peak transmission season.

CDC has worked with Cameroon to improve its HIV surveillance system, including providing technical assistance in the development of evaluation protocols to conduct a full complement of surveillance, research, and program monitoring to inform program planning and increase the impact of HIV investments. Data collection for the Cameroon Population-based HIV Impact Assessment was completed in February 2018, and results are informing HIV strategic planning and decision-making.

CDC supported the MOH to establish the National Public Health Laboratory, which provides leadership and guidance to laboratories across the national tiered system. Renovation of the laboratory is complete and the national strategic laboratory plan was established in 2018.

CDC assisted with the implementation of international laboratory accreditation for 14 laboratories, three of which have attained accreditation, and one of which serves as a national reference laboratory for early infant diagnosis and viral load testing services. The three accredited laboratories are the first for Cameroon to be accredited by the South African national accreditation system.

CDC Impact in Cameroon
  • Launched and implemented the first national proficiency testing program, which currently has over 1,000 laboratories enrolled for HIV rapid testing.
  • 8,000 infants have been tested for HIV, and over 400 healthcare workers have been trained on HIV testing and dried blood spot collection.
  • 80 Ministry of Health personnel have been trained on quality assurance and laboratory strengthening protocols.
  • 94 healthcare workers have been trained on blood safety.
  • A 2-year advanced Field Epidemiology Training Program was implemented to develop well-trained field epidemiologists and disease detectives at the national levels of the MOH and Ministry of Livestock.
CDC Staff in Cameroon
  • 6 U.S. Assignees
  • 23 Locally Employed
Cameroon at a Glance
  • Population: 24,053,727 (2017)
  • Per capita income: $3,640
  • Life expectancy at birth: F 60 /M 57 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 52/1,000  live births

World Bank 2018, Cameroon
Population Reference Bureau 2018, Cameroon

Cameroon Top 10 Causes of Death
  2. Malaria
  3. Lower respiratory infections
  4. Neonatal disorders
  5. Diarrheal diseases
  6. Ischemic heart disease
  7. Stroke
  8. Tuberculosis
  9. Road injuries
  10. Cirrhosis

GBD Compare 2018, Cameroon

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Page last reviewed: July 22, 2019
Content source: Global Health