Building Malaria Prevention

Yaoundé, Cameroon

In Cameroon, malaria is responsible for 50% of deaths among children under five. In the capital, Yaoundé, 85% of settlements are considered informal. ARCHIVE links this high mortality rate and the state of housing among the urban poor to reduce malarial mosquito exposure through housing innovations.

Vast evidence confirms that adequate housing is more effective in reducing malaria incidence than other preventative measures. Data from 2004 showed that only 11% of children under five in Cameroon slept under mosquito nets and only 1% slept under insecticide treated nets. In a Gambian study, however, when netting could be incorporated into ceiling design, exposure to mosquitoes plummeted by 85%.

Despite growing effort by the National Malaria Control Program in Cameroon, malaria continues to be one of the top three causes of morbidity and mortality in the country. Two major contributors to this burden are the development of drug resistance to medication and insecticide and the cost of treatment, which is out of reach for a majority of households.

How can we decrease the number of mosquitoes infiltrating the home and infecting the community? We’re directly combating malaria through housing design in Cameroon’s poorest communities, using screened doors, windows and eaves, and adequate ventilation, sewage and draining solutions. Such solutions can halt vector mosquitoes and reduce the incidence of malaria.