Background: Malaria is the leading cause of death worldwide. It is urgent to assess the impact of interventions and scaled-up control efforts. Despite reported reduction in malaria prevalence in Africa, the trends in Cameroon are not yet fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the trends in malaria admissions among febrile patients seeking treatment over a seven-year period (2006-2012) in an endemic area in Cameroon, hypothesizing a declining trend. This period followed changes in malaria treatment policy. The objectives were to identify possible trends in malaria admissions and to evaluate the impact of changes to treatment guidelines on the prevalence.
Methods: Data was collected through consultation and perusal of laboratory and prescription registers of the Mbakong Health Centre. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS and SAS Statistics.
Results: Analysis revealed that 4,230 febrile patients were received from 2006-2012. Of these febrile cases, 29.30% were confirmed positive. Between 2006 and 2012 confirmed malaria positive cases of those tested fluctuated, dropping from 53.21% in 2006 to 17.20% in 2008; then rising to 35.00% in 2011 and, finally, dropping to 18.2% of those tested in 2012. The prevalence in females and males across all age groups were similar: a slightly higher risk of males to have malaria (OR = 1.08, 95% CI 0.94-1.25) were not practically significant. Of those tested, the 5 to < 15 years and the 1 to < 5 years age groups were the hardest hit by malaria in the area. A practically visible and significant association was observed between the age and gender with regards to the number of malaria positive results (Pearson ×2 = 153.675, p < 0.00001, Cramer’s V = 0.352). Malaria prevalence exhibited a fluctuating yet declining trend, as observed over the 28 quarters between January, 2006 and December, 2012.
Conclusions: The changes to the treatment guidelines appear to result in a declining trend as was observed between 2006 and 2008. However, malaria admissions fluctuated between 2008 and 2012. There is, therefore, a need to step up control efforts of especially the vulnerable groups, such as the very young.