Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cameroon’s Need for Basic Laboratory Services: A Call for Action



AIDSfreeAFRICA’s mission is to implement and advance pharmaceutical drug production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although AIDSfreeAFRICA has been working in Cameroon since 2005, the organization has only recently decided to tackle the problems that arise because of the general lack of basic laboratory services in the African nation.

AIDSfreeAFRICA is often approached and asked to take samples of pharmaceutical drugs to the USA and test them for their composition and/or quality. The import of pharmaceuticals in Cameroon is largely unregulated. Much of the imported drugs are brought into the country from Nigeria by salespeople who buy and sell drugs with little regard for the origin of the drugs. Additionally, the salespeople are not educated on how to transport or store drugs properly. We suspect that the main problem with drug quality in Cameroon is degradation due to heat and humidity rather than the counterfeit drugs. However, without the ability to quality control drugs on a large scale, it is hard to say.

Another problem is created by falling drinking water levels, which causes people to drill more wells. However, once water is found the question is: is this water suitable for consumption? 

The ability to analyze drugs, water, animal feed, and soil samples is just one area that needs attention. When you add to this the need to enhance laboratory education in high schools and universities it becomes apparent why AIDSfreeAFRICA is asking Chemist Without Borders readers to respond to this article and help with our efforts. We are looking for chemistry/biology equipment, especially for quality control work and science laboratory education. Please consult our website to see a list of equipment needed.

We are fortunate that the Cameroonian government is welcoming our efforts. We are currently negotiating a contract to receive one laboratory room in a government research facility in Bamenda/Mankon. We are looking forward to finalizing the discussions, signing the contract, moving in and getting started.

To contact us directly, please visit the AIDSfreeAFRICA website (http://aidsfreeafrica.org/our-story/contact/) and send us a message letting us know how you would like to partner with our organization to help Cameroon!