Cameroon COUNTDOWN Team

Prof. Louis Albert Tchuem Tchuente 

Prof. Louis Albert Tchuem Tchuenté - Country Manager & Yaoundé Lead 

Schistosomiasis & STH Principal Investigator

Prof. Tchuem-Tchuenté is an Neglected Tropical Disease Ambassador for Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He is the Director of the Centre for Schistosomiasis & Parasitology in Cameroon and is a professor of parasitology. He lectures at the University of Yaoundé I and is Country Director for the COUNTDOWN project in Cameroon. His expertise in Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted Helminthiasis spans over 30 years. He is Programme Manager of the National Programme for the control of Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Worms at the Ministry of Health.

For over three decades he has worked in various aspects of research, epidemiology and control of schistosomiasis, STH and other neglected tropical diseases, including program development, strategic planning, program management, implementation, drug management, operational research development, leadership, administration, problem-solving, financial negotiation, community mobilization, evaluation, advocacy, fundraising, partnership development, capacity building, diplomacy and reporting. He managed more than twenty international research projects and is author of a hundred peer reviewed scientific publications and chapters in books. He also works with the WHO Africa region and provides technical assistance to 47 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for the development and implementation of NTD control programs.

Through his scientific discoveries, he has contributed to a better knowledge of the reproductive biology of schistosomes and its implications on the epidemiology of schistosomiasis, as well as the efficacy of treatment in mixed infections and advances in
diagnostics for schistosomiasis infections. He has demonstrated the exclusive competition among schistosomes, contributing to the discovery of a new species of human schistosome called Schistosoma guineensis. Professor Tchuem Tchuente is presently the Regional Adviser for Africa for the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK.

Prof. Tchuem Tchuente leads the COUNTDOWN programme in Cameroon on a national and regional level as illustrated below:

Known for pushing the agenda be moved to elimination, Prof. Tchuem-Tchuenté has engineered and fostered collaboration to stimulate discussions on finding possible solutions.This led to the China-Africa meeting on Schistosomiasis Elimination and Malacology Training, which he organised in Yaounde-Cameroon from the 24 - 28 October 2016.

On the issue on changing the conversation from control to elimination he said:

"With this word elimination, you have to put the necessary efforts and investment to interrupt transmission. In Africa, I think the time is right to think about this and to shift completely from control to elimination. It is not easy as this will require a lot of investment but I think that this work has to start building and to raise momentum and commitment from the government, including investment. That is what the SDG is about because one of its goals is for countries to invest more for the elimination of NTDs."

He also organised the meeting in Cameroon titled: "Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis in Cameroon: Developing a Modern National Agenda Integrating Research and Control." Through this meeting, he brought together all those working on Schistosomiasis around the country together to share knowledge and integrate approaches and lessons learned afield.

 Integrated Control Strategy 2: Expanded Access to Schistosomiasis

 

Dr Hermine Jatsa - Theme Lead

Dr Hermine Megaptche Jatsa who oversees Monitoring and Evaluation in the project is a lecturer and researcher in Animal Physiology at the University of Yaoundé I. She has an extensive set of skills in research around the pathology of schistosomiasis as well as alternative and complementary drugs for the treatment of schistosomiasis 

Social Science Team  - Yaoundé

Prof. Estelle Koukam

Prof. Estelle Koukam -  Social Science Theme Lead

Prof. Estelle Magne Kouokam is an anthropologist and a professor in Medical Anthropology at the Catholic University of Central Africa. She has a profound knowledge and understanding of the anthropology of gender as well as anthropological thoughts. Prof. Kouokam is in charge of all the social sciences aspects of the COUNTDOWN project in Cameroon.

 Health Economics Team

Dr Njoumemi Zakariaou - Health Economics Lead (Yaoundé & Buea)

Dr Zakariaou is a health economist and obtained his Ph.D. in Public Health specialising in Health Economics from Health Economics Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Science, University of Cape Town, South Africa.  He has an MSc in Health Economics from WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Economics, Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. 

He is currently a senior lecturer/researcher in health economics, health policy and health systems, health care financing and management at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I. He is also the director of Health Economics & Policy Research and Evaluation for Development Results Group (HEREG), Yaoundé Cameroon.

Dr Zakariaou has participated as co-investigator in some operational research on financing, costing and cost-effectiveness of public health programmes in Africa, for example:

 – Evaluating the financial contribution of the state to the fight against the river blindness in Cameroon (2008 - 2010)

– Costing the community-directed interventions for major health problems in Africa: Onchocerciasis, Malaria, TB, and Vitamin A Deficiency through a multi-country study which involves Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda funded by UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR)  (2003 - 2007) 

-  Evaluating and analysing the external monetary incentive policies for volunteers of community-based health programmes including: Onchocerciasis, Reproductive Health (Child and Maternal Health, Family Planning, population activities), Immunisation, HIV/AIDS and other STIs, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Nutrition, Schistosomiasis, Guinea Worm, Water and Sanitation, Epidemiological Surveillance, etc.) in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda through a multi-country study funded by WHO/APOC (2007)

- Evaluating and analysing the global/total cost per project and unit cost per person treated with Ivermectin using the Community-Directed Treatment with Ivermectin (CDTI) Strategy in Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda funded by WHO/APOC. (2004)

His special interest areas are health policy & systems research, health care financing & costing of health care programs, and monitoring & evaluation of health policy and health systems.

Ousseni Mongbet - Health Economist

 

Secretariat Team

Dr Hermine Boukeng Jatsa - Monitoring & Evaluation Manager

 

Sharon Ngang - Research Uptake Officer

Sharon Kien Ngang

COUNTDOWN Research Uptake & Communications Officer (Yaoundé & Buea)

Ms Ngang holds a Masters in Public Health from Nottingham Trent University and has a background in biomedical sciences.  She was involved in a malaria control study with Malaria Consortium-Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria. Her role with COUNTDOWN involves linking both research partners in Cameroon at the University of Buea (District & community research focus) and Centre for Schistosomiasis & Parasitology (national & regional research focus).

 Samuel Tchuenkom - Administrative & Finance Officer (Yaoundé)

Prof. Samuel Wanji - Buea Lead 

Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis Principal Investigator

Prof. Wanji teaches Parasitology, Vector Biology and Epidemiology & Control of Infectious at the University of Buea, Cameroon. He is Head of Department for Microbiology and Parasitology at the University of Buea, Cameroon. He is also Executive Director of the Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment, Buea. He heads the COUNTDOWN programme’s partnership with the University of Buea on the district and community levels.

He received his training from the University of Montpellier II and the Natural History Museum in Paris, France. Working in Collaboration with WHO/TDR, his research activities have contributed to the development and validation of a Rapid Assessment Procedures for Loiasis (RAPLOA); a community based diagnostic tool for L. Loa that uses simple questionnaire based on the history of eye worms to assess the endemicity of Loaisis in a given area before the ivermectin MDA.

Working in collaboration with the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (WHO/APOC), he coordinated the mapping of loaisis in 15 African countries using RAPLOA. He was member of the research consortium that demonstrated for the first time that the Community Directed approach for health interventions is more effective than conventionally used delivery approaches and that the integrated delivery of different interventions through the Community directed approach process was feasible. This work led to the recommendation that in areas with experience in community-directed treatment for onchocerciasis control, the community directed approach should be used for the integrated, community level delivery of a broader range of appropriate health interventions.

In a feasibility study in Cameroon, Prof Wanji and his team used this community-directed approach to successfully deliver a 6-week course doxycycline for the control of onchocerciasis in areas of co-endemicity with loaisis in Cameroon with high treatment coverage and very high compliance rate. 

You can read more on his experience and his plans on leaving a legacy through building the next generation of parasitologists in these two blogs:

Onchocerciasis in Three Decades: Through the Lens of Prof. Samuel Wanji

Onchocerciasis in Three Decades PART II: Building the Next Generation of Parasitologists

In his words, Prof Wanji "...would like to be known as somebody conscious of the dimension of and width of NTDs, who has devoted part of his life to contribute to understand and fight those tropical diseases; by teaching students about NTDs, by creating and developing research capacity that has contributed to the training of those students; by participating in research work that has contributed to change people’s lives, contributing to fight in the field of those diseases and by anticipating what the future will be in my discipline; by re-orienting the teaching programme at the university to make African students be more proactive in the solution to those problems created by NTDs."

Integrated Control Strategy I: Macrofilaricidal Control 

Dr Peter Enyong - Lead Entomologist

Dr Enyong is a renowned entomologist international but most so for Cameroon. He has contributed immensely to the research related to Onchocerciasis, Loaisis and Podoconiosis. He is a co-founder of the Research Foundation for Tropical Diseases & Environment based at the University of Buea. For over three decades, together with his colleague Prof. Samuel Wanji, they have conducted research trials in their laboratory based in Buea and were instrumental in the mapping of Loiaisis and Onchocerciasis in many African countries through the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) before it became defunct in early 2016. 

The work in the laboratory in Buea has seen both Dr Enyong and Prof. Wanji develop their pan-filarial rodent model, which was a breakthrough in small animal models for chemotherapeutic and immunological studies. 

 

Dr Eyong Mathias Esum - Entomologist

Dr Esum holds a BSc in Microbiology, an MSc and a PhD in Medical Parasitology/Entomology. An Onchocerciasis field scientist with over 15 years experience in parasitological, entomological and intervention studies in Cameroon, he is currently a Lecturer at the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology at the University of Buea and Senior Researcher with the Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment (REFOTDE), Buea-Cameroon.

His doctoral studies focused on chemotherapeutic and vector control of filarial parasites. It was an interdisciplinary project that combined biological approaches in the fields of filarial control, particularly involving the control of vectors of River blindness (onchocerciasis) and epidemiological methods to investigate the impact of mass treatment when Doxycycline and Ivermectin are used for the treatment of onchocerciasis in areas of co-endemicity with loiasis in Cameroon. This work, developed within a collaborative research programme with several partners in Cameroon, the United Kingdom and Germany yielded a number of important publications in respected international journals.

Dr Esum's intellectual, academic and research work is also driven by a strong practical public health policy focus. Between 2005 and 2013, he has worked intermittently and in various domains of expertise as a Consultant for the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) and Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO Country Office in Yaounde, Cameroon.

 

 

Patrick Ndongmo - Parasitologist & PhD Student

Patrick has extensive experience in research on Experimental animal models of infection, Studies of parasites and vectors of infectious diseases, ranging from molecular biology to field work. He has worked on research that has been able to validate the use of small animals (rodents) as a clinical model for drug screening against Onchocerciasis; and conducted clinical trials of macro and microfilaricidal drugs in cattle with bovine onchocerciasis. In his research area,he is looking to develop a tool for diagnosis of L. loa in the Chrysops vector.

He is currently a Research Assistant and Head of Animal care and Husbandry Unit at the Research Foundation for Tropical Diseases and the Environment (REFOTDE) - University of Buea, Cameroon. 

He is also doing his doctoral thesis on "The impact of Community Directed Treatment with Ivermectin on Loa Loa in the rainforest areas of Cameroon."

 

 Social Sciences Team- Buea

 

 Dr Theobald Nji - Social Science Lead

 

Ebua Gallus Fung - Research Assistant

Gallus is an Assistant Social Scientist for COUNTDOWN Buea-Cameroon. He is a holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in Management from the University of Buea. He is currently studying towards obtaining a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Buea.

Gallus joined REFOTDE (Research Foundation for Tropical Diseases and Environment) as a Research assistant in March 2016 and have since then participated in several planning meetings and research works within REFORTDE. He serves presently as the Social Science Data Manager Buea.

Dum-buo Nnamdi - Research Assistant

Dum-Buo is an Assistant Social Scientist for COUNTDOWN Cameroon and works as an Assistant Researcher at REFOTDE (Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment) where he assists in projects nationwide.

He holds a B.Sc in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Buea, a diploma in Human Resource Management from the Pan-African Institute for Development and a certificate on scientific writing with AuthorAid via the University of Buea.

He is currently a Masters student in Social Anthropology at the University of Buea; and works as a social researcher and has been part of many research projects in Cameroon such as Lymphatic Filariasis and Podoconiosis mapping just to name a few.

As an extension to his passion for anthropology; he remains actively involved in the University of Buea Sociology and Anthropology Network (UBSAN) in his capacity as president.  

 

Health Economics - Buea

Maureen T. Ayok - Health Economist

Maureen Ayok holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon, and an MSc in Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases from the same university. During her postgraduate studies, she did her thesis on the economic cost and social effects of some Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Cameroon such as Leprosy and Podoconiosis.

She currently works as a Research Assistant in Epidemiology at REFOTDE (Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment) and as an Assistant Health Economist with COUNTDOWN Buea.

She has worked extensively within the fields of epidemiology and public health through research on NTDs such on Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Podoconiosis just to name a few. Maureen has been instrumental in collaboratively designing project protocols, field instruments for epidemiological and health economics research.

Her area of interest includes using research-based evidence on epidemiology and health economics to inform public health decisions.