Cameroon Malnutrition

The lives of children in Cameroon should be better than in many other African countries. A relatively stable state, albeit ruled tightly by President Paul Biya, Cameroon has a decent agricultural economy buoyed by oil reserves.

Yet despite these favourable factors, over 50% of children in Cameroon live below the poverty line and child mortality rates for the under fives are on the increase. Malnutrition is rife in Cameroon, particularly in the north of the country where around 55,000 children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition.

The causes are common across the region; failure of harvests in addition to existing chronic poverty, poor weaning and infant feeding practices and lack of access to basic services such as health care and water with only 44% of the population having access to safe water in rural areas.

The issue is compounded by the government's apparent refusal to acknowledge the extent of the problem with under half of the health districts in the north regions having the necessary staff and equipment to address the issue.

Child Malnutrition in CameroonAdditionally many mothers are often reluctant to admit or even understand that their children are suffering from malnutrition, delaying access to the help that's required. Medical staff report that children often come "to hospital in an advanced state of malnutrition and with medical complications ... In such cases, it is almost impossible to save them." Little wonder that literally tens of thousands of children in Cameroon die from the effects malnutrition every year.

The issue of malnutrition in children in Cameroon was exacerbated in 2008; a year which saw a sharp increase in food prices, leading to social unrest and even riots.


Cameroon Malnutrition

Cameroon Malnutrition

Cameroon Malnutrition

Cameroon Malnutrition



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Cameroon Malnutrition

Cameroon Children

Cameroon MalnutritionEven today, after the government hoped to ease the problem by suspending import taxes and vowed to increase home grown production by 30% to help ease the problem, the situation is still difficult for many families. As one person in Cameroon stated "When I go out in the morning, I often choose to have lunch around 10 so that I don’t have to eat at noon. Because it has become difficult to eat three times a day. It is a luxury I cannot afford." The video documentary above highlights the work of UNICEF in addressing malnutrition in Cameroon, for as the video states "In a country of relative wealth, a middle-income country, there is really no need for 52,000 children to die each year of malnutrition.”


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