Archive | July 2013

BCG Scarcity Signalled In Cameroon

By Leocadia Bongben

It has been observed that the vaccine, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin, BCG against tuberculosis for children from 0-1year is scarce in some health centres in Yaounde and in the whole country.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a baterium and affects the lungs though can also affect other organs.

BCG is prepared from a weakened live bovin tuberculosis virus and provides about 80 per cent immunity for children for about 15 years depending on the region.

Linda Kiyo gave birth to a baby boy on July 15 at the Efoulan District Hospital, but the baby was not vaccinated. She was told to come on Thursdays to check if the vaccine was already available.

This is the situation in other centres in Yaounde where a nurse indicated that the scarcity was not specific to the Odza dispensary. “Go to Efoulan and or Nkodongo district hospitals and in the whole country, there is no BCG”, the nurse said. Some nurses could be seen in a group discussing the BCG scarcity and apparently worried on what to do.

The Post learnt that there is a problem with the storage facility at CENAME,(the national drug store) such that drugs that are not used for a long time often get expired leading to stock outs.

However, the personnel of the Ministry of Public Health continue to say there are enough vaccines at the Enlarged Programme for Vaccination, PEV, for the vaccination week in the days ahead. Government is said to have taken measures to ensure that vaccines against infectious diseases are available.

Despite this, the reality is the field is causing mothers to worry that new born babies who cannot get the vaccine may be adversely affected.

A situation which the Permanent Secretary of the National Programme for the Fight Against Tuberculosis, Dr. Abena describes as still under control. The vaccine is administered to children between 0-1year, and Abena averred that a child can still catch up with the vaccine within the period of one year without any problem. He cautioned that there is no cause for alarm at the moment.