We have been in Cameroon for the past week with our partner, Junior Chamber International (JCI), visiting with community leaders, doctors and nurses, and families who have been affected by malaria. Over the past seven years, JCI has been a vital partner to Nothing But Nets, raising more than $3.5 million to protect refugee families and advocating for strong U.S. leadership in the fight against malaria through the BzzzTour.
Nothing But Nets has a long history of supporting the fight against malaria in Cameroon starting in 2011 when we worked with our partners UNICEF and Population Services International (PSI) to help Cameroon with its first ever nationwide bed net distribution. In 2014, we provided 60,000 nets with UNHCR to Nigerian and Central African Republic refugees fleeing violence on the north and eastern borders of the country.
On this trip, we visited the UNHCR offices in Yaoundé and Douala, met with doctors who supported the national net distribution with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and learned about JCI Cameroon programs to educate local communities on how to fight malaria.
The malaria numbers in Cameroon, like so many countries in Africa, are startling – it is still the leading killer of children under the age of 5. However, it is the stories behind the statistics- or rather the real people personally affected by malaria- that we met with this week that have really helped to illustrate the need for us to do everything in our power to end malaria for good.
Albert, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, told us how his 3 year old son Gradi suffers the most from malaria. Albert’s family received a net from Nothing But Nets and UNHCR in 2014. He is grateful for the protection it provides his family and Albert works to help other refugees understand the importance of protecting themselves from malaria.
These trips are always difficult, as they are a stark reminder of the work we still have left to accomplish. However, we come away from each visit feeling proud about the progress that has been made, and rejuvenated to continue the fight knowing that the nets that we send are protecting children and families. Please enjoy the below photos from our trip and check out even more in our Facebook album!