Cameroon is a country in Central Africa, bordered by Nigeria to the west, Congo, Gabon and Equitorial Guinea to the south, the Central African Republic to the east, Chad to the north-east and the Bight of Biafra to the south-west.

Population estimate (2019): 25,038,231

Capital City: Yaoundé

Currency used: Central African Franc

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 2

Time zone: GMT + 1

Population growth rate (2018): 2.60%

Total fertility rate per woman: 4.64.

Languages: French and English are the official languages, however over 200 indigenous and major African languages are also widely spoken.

Key ethnic groups: Cameroon has over 240 tribes which belong to the 3 main ethnic groups; Bantus, Semi-Bantus and Sudanese.

Religion: 70% Christian, 21% Muslim, 6% indigenous beliefs.

Literacy: 71%

Climate: Cameroon has a tropical climate with alternating dry and rainy seasons. The dry season is largely from November to April. Temperatures can vary from 23 to 31°C in January to 21 to 35°C in July.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 57/59 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 362/321 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $122

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2010): 0.083

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2010): 0.52

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2016): 23.9 [17.3-32.6]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2016): 79.7 [61.9-102.9]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 64.7%

Top 10 causes of death:

HIV/AIDS: 33,277 people / 15.06% of total

Influenza & pneumonia: 25,344 / 11.47%

Stroke: 14,056 / 6.36%

Diarrhoeal diseases: 13,953 / 6.31%

Coronary heart disease: 12,159 / 5.50%

Malaria: 9,161 / 4.14%

Birth trauma: 7,686 / 3.48%

Low birth weight: 7,394 / 3.35%

Tuberculosis: 6,821 / 3.09%

Road traffic accidents: 6,560 / 2.97%


Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Cameroon consists of public and private sectors. The public sector is the main provider of health services in the country. The public sector aims to provide cheap healthcare and affordable medicine to the general population as there is no public health insurance in the country. The public system is divided into three levels; Central/strategic, Intermediary/technical and Peripheral/operational. There are 2,043 public medical facilities in the country, mostly concentrated in urban areas, and 154 operational district hospitals. Drug supplies in pharmacies in the urban areas and town are usually sufficient, however, this this often not the case in more rural areas. Public facilities don’t offer very satisfactory standards, with old or outdated equipment and poor sanitation.The hospitals of highest standards are located in Yaounde and Douala.

Many Cameroonians struggle to pay treatment fees and are usually required to pay for all medical supplies needed, which can sometimes leave patients and their families with large debts. Cameroon has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world, making a shortage of medical professionals one of the biggest problems in the healthcare system. Reasons for the shortage include low wages, difficult working conditions and low training capacities. For these reasons many doctors look for work opportunities in other countries.

The private sector (for-profit and not-for-profit) is provided by institutions and organisations that are funded by private enterprises, foreign aid donors, religious missions. Private healthcare services are significantly more expensive than public services and not affordable to the majority of the population. Traditional medicine is also available and fairly widely used.