Public Health Issues in Cameroon


The chosen country is Cameroon that is a third world country located in western region of Africa. The country’s has a population of 26.55 million as per the statistics of 2020 (Nkemgha et al., 2021). The country lives at the junction of central and western Africa and consists of an ethical diverse population. The average life expectancy at birth in Cameroon has been reported by statistics to be 60.56 years for females and 58.03 years for men. The demographic profile of the country presents 250 different ethnic groups (Nkemgha et al., 2021). Also, the country experiences one birth in every 36 seconds and one death in every 2 minutes. Also, demographic statistic reports also indicate net gain of one person every 50 seconds countered by one net migrant every 111 minutes. 42.15% of the population is composed of persons aged less than 14 years (Nkemgha et al., 2021). Those between 15-24 years of the Cameroon population comprise of 19.6% of the population. 31.03% of the population is made of those aged between 25 and 54 years. 3.99% of the population comprise of those aged 55-64 years (Nkemgha et al., 2021). Lastly, those that are aged over 65 years make up 3.23% of the population. The gross domestic product of the country is at 39.8 billion USD as at 2020 (Nkemgha et al., 2021). The major health challenges that are faced in Cameroon include HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.


Public Health Issues in Cameroon

The major health issues as already noted earlier that are faced in Cameroon include HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. These three are termed as the major killer diseases across the nation. A national HIV survey in Cameroon reported that 3.7% of the adults in the nation live with HIV/AIDS. This translates to close to half a million people within the country (Awuba & Macassa, 2007). More than half of adults are fortunately reported to be aware of their status as much as the chronic killer disease is concerned. Also, women are reported to twice as infected as men across the country. Besides, surveys have also reported that a small portion of the young population is aware of their HIV status relative to the adults. Various risk factors have been associated with the high prevalence of HIV in Cameroon. According to a report by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, the virus thus HIV has been feminized in the sub-Saharan Africa where Cameroon falls disproportionately affects women and girls (Fiorentino et al., 2021) . Poverty across the nation has also been feminized and it is one of the risk factors for HIV in Cameroon (Mangham et al., 2012). Age mixing and health seeking behaviours across the nation have also been reported to be among the major risk factors for HIV (Awuba & Macassa, 2007). Amongst women, female genital mutilation and violence against women is also reported as one of the risk factors to HIV in Cameroon (Fiorentino et al., 2021).

Incidences of tuberculosis in Cameroon are reported to be approximately 179 cases per a hundred thousand people that are sampled. The estimated numbers of new pulmonary, smear positive, and extra tuberculosis cases that are reported in Cameroon annually have seen a dramatic surge over the past few years (Kwedi et al., 2016). Across the nation, the absolute cases of tuberculosis within the nation have seen an increase of over 2000 in a span of 8 years (Noeske et al., 2016). A decreased has however been reported in the population modified yearly case notification rate of TB of various forms as well as the new smear-positive pulmonary TB cases (Kwedi et al., 2016). A link has also been shown between HIV and TB whereby HIV infection rates have been reported in 39% of TB cases (Awuba & Macassa, 2007). Examining gender disparity in the epidemiology of Tuberculosis, male to female ratio has for years been stable but a small shift has also been noted among the younger ages. The major risk factors that have been associated with incidences of TB across Cameroon include close-contact instances, alcohol and Intravenous drug abuse as well as diseases such as diabetes, cancer, as well as HIV (Kwedi et al., 2016). An occupation such as health care workers is another risk factor for the incidence of tuberculosis in Cameroon.

Malaria is another major health issue that is faced in Cameroon. Reports by the Malaria Atlas Project has made indications of the prevalence of P. falciparum to has decreased by half (Mangham et al., 2012). Despite the general decrease the in general cases of the diseases across many nations in Africa, Cameroon still faces particular challenges in the fight against malaria. In Cameroon, malaria is a major killer disease. More 90% of the Cameroon population are reported to be at risk of malaria infection (Mangham et al., 2012). Also, the programs that the country has put in place to fight malaria have been unsuccessful following the heightened prevalence of the multi-medication resistant parasites alongside malaria vectors that are resistance to the insecticides that are used against them. The fight against tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria has been on the rise across Cameroon. The president has been reported to join hands with other government delegates and heads of states to champion the fight against the three killer diseases. Recently, the Cameroon government has signed a document that has seen the global fund allocating 164 billion to Cameroon for the fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (Njunda et al., 2016).

Description of Health Systems

The health care system of Cameroon has three distinctive sub-sectors. One of the sub-sectors is the sub-public sector. This comprises of the public hospitals and health structures that are guarded by other department members such as the defence department, employment department, labor and social welfare as well as the ministry of national education within the country (Gruenais et al., 2008). The other sector of the Cameroon healthcare system is the sub-private no-profit sector that is composed of the distinct religious denominations, associations, and many non-government organizations that are concerned with matters healthcare (Gruenais et al., 2008). The sector is the sub-sector of the traditional medicine that is one of the significant sectors of the healthcare system of Cameroon. The healthcare system of the nation is also categorised into three systems that are inclusive of then central level, the intermediate level, and the peripheral level. The central level is concerned with central services of the ministry of public health. The central services coordinate besides regulating and developing concepts as well as strategies and policies in the country’s field of health. The central level also include structures of care that are represented by the general hospitals in reference and the centers Hospital-Universities, ten central hospital as well as the agencies that are under guardianship (Gruenais et al., 2008). There are structures of SYNAME that are represented by the CENAME that is the national center to supply essential drugs, wholesaler private as well as the central buying of the private non-profit sector of the healthcare system (Gruenais et al., 2008). The central level of the healthcare system also has board of directors and management committees.

The next level is the intermediate level that is inclusive of administrative structures that are noted to be corresponsive to the distinctive provincial delegations that offer technical supports to the health districts. The intermediate level also has the structures of care that are represented by the Center Pharmaceutical Supply Provincial (CAPP) as well as the pharmacies in general hospitals and central (Gruenais et al., 2008). Intermediate level also has the structures for dialogue that are the management committees (COGE). The last level of the Cameroon healthcare system is the administrative structure that is represented by the district health services and they implement the national programs of healthcare. The level also has the structures of care that are represented by the district hospitals as well as the medical centres and district health centres (Gruenais et al., 2008). The structures of SYNAME are represented by the pharmacies for health training courses of the preliminary levels and the private pharmacies that are in existence across the nation. The peripheral level of the healthcare system also has the structures of dialogue that are inclusive of the COSADI, COGEDI, COSA, and COGE (Gruenais et al., 2008).

Assessment of the Progress the Country Has Made On a Named-Related Sustainable Development Goal

The government of Cameroon has made important moods in the quest to attain the first sustainable development goal that involves poverty reduction. Over the years, the growth performance of Cameroon has strengthened substantially. The government has ensured the reduction of poverty through visionary investments programs across the country however much they have not been easy to sustain (Ningaye et al., 2013). The country’s growth and employment strategy has worked effectively to reduce poverty across the nation. It has been the poverty reduction strategy within a period of ten years as part of the nation’s vision 2035. Initially, the nation had the country assistance strategy that was in line with the Document de Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi (DSCE) alongside the vision and the priorities of Cameroon for development. The strategy made much emphasis on bettering the competitiveness of the nation as well as the service delivery by the government to the people (Ningaye et al., 2013). The government centralized the operations of the bank strategy to three basic principles. One of these was the improvement and increment of infrastructure investments in sectors such as transport, energy, as well as telecommunications. The strategy also focused on activities that aimed to ensure transparency equity and sustainability of natural resources across the country such as mining, agriculture, and fishing alongside other protected areas of economic origin (Ningaye et al., 2013).

The strategy by the government to eliminate poverty aimed to promote the value chains that are anticipated to have the greatest potential besides improving the business climate for better nourishment. Another important factor that has contributed to the country’s fight to reduce poverty is the regional integration, which significantly improves competitiveness. Improvement of service delivery to reduce poverty across the country had three major impacts. One of the impacts that have been observed is the improvement in human development besides improvement on the efficiency of education and responsibility in the sectors of healthcare. This has also led to increased quality of healthcare services in Cameroon and thus influencing the third sustainable development goal. Improvement of service delivery initiated by the government to reduce poverty has also contributed to local development thus enabling the population to access basic services via the bettering of infrastructure besides capacity building for better local governance across the country (Ningaye et al., 2013)

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Addressing the identified health challenges is crucial to ensuring good healthcare in Cameroon. Some of the approaches to health include universal access to healthcare services as well as equity in care accessibility. Also, I recommend community participation alongside implementation of health agendas alongside other intersectional strategies to improving healthcare across the nation. The main concern of public health is the prevention of disease. Besides, it would worth of consideration to control the public health issues across the country at the population level. Organized efforts and wise decision making by the society, organizations, as well as the private and public health sectors of the country would be a considerable way to improve the public health across the country. The government should also strengthen the healthcare system, as it is the backbone to the country’s public health status. The government should also invest in the health research system. Regulation and enforcement also ensures basic public health outcomes thus they should be effectively implemented in the Cameroon healthcare system.


Awuba, J., & Macassa, G. (2007). HIV/AIDS in Cameroon: Rising gender issues in policy-making matters. African Journal of Health Sciences, 14(3), 118-128.

Fiorentino, M., Sow, A., Sagaon-Teyssier, L., Mora, M., Mengue, M. T., Vidal, L., ... & EVOLCam study Group. (2021). Intimate partner violence by men living with HIV in Cameroon: Prevalence, associated factors and implications for HIV transmission risk (ANRS-12288 EVOLCAM). PloS one, 16(2), e0246192.

Gruénais, M. É., Okalla, R., & Gauvrit, E. (2008). How Can the Local Level Exist? The Case of the Decentralisation of the Health System in Cameroon. In The Governance of Daily Life in Africa (pp. 101-118). Brill.

Kwedi Nolna, S., Kammogne, I. D., Ndzinga, R., Afanda, B., Ntone, R., Boum, Y., & Nolna, D. (2016). Community knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to tuberculosis in Cameroon. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 20(9), 1199-1204.

Mangham, L. J., Cundill, B., Achonduh, O. A., Ambebila, J. N., Lele, A. K., Metoh, T. N., ... & Mbacham, W. F. (2012). Malaria prevalence and treatment of febrile patients at health facilities and medicine retailers in Cameroon. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 17(3), 330-342.

Mbanya, D., Sama, M., & Tchounwou, P. B. (2008). Current status of HIV/AIDS in Cameroon: how effective are control strategies?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 5(5), 378-383. (Mbanya et al., 2008)

Ningaye, P., Alexi, T. Y., & Virginie, T. F. (2013). Multi-poverty in Cameroon: A structural equation modeling approach. Social indicators research, 113(1), 159-181.

Njunda, A. L., Njumkeng, C., Nsagha, S. D., Assob, J. C. N., & Kwenti, T. E. (2016). The prevalence of malaria in people living with HIV in Yaounde, Cameroon. BMC public health, 16(1), 1-7.

Nkemgha, G. Z., Tékam, H. O., & Belek, A. (2021). Healthcare expenditure and life expectancy in Cameroon. Journal of Public Health, 29(3), 683-691.

Noeske, J., Nana Yakam, A., & Abena Foe, J. L. (2016). Epidemiology of tuberculosis in Cameroon as mirrored in notification data, 2006–2014. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 20(11), 1489-1494.

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