For every 100,000 people, 841 men and 652 women lost their lives to either heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and diabetes in 2021, These diseases are termed Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Three years prior to these alarming statistics, the Cameroon Demographic Health Survey 2018, which included participants aged 15-49 years shed light on the prevalence and management of non-communicable diseases in Cameroon with focus on hypertension, high blood sugar level and cervical cancer.

This survey indicated that only 68% of women and 41% of men had their blood pressure measured. Among men who had their blood pressure measured, 4% were diagnosed with hypertension and 15% of them were receiving medication, while for women, these figures stood at 6% and 22% respectively. These figures indicate an inadequate level of detection and management of hypertension in Cameroon.

These figures indicate an inadequate level of detection and management of hypertension in Cameroon.

For blood sugar measurement, approximately 35% of women and 17% of men reported having their blood sugar levels measured by a healthcare provider. Of those screened, 1% were diagnosed with high blood sugar or diabetes in either gender.

Concerning cervical cancer screening, only 46% of women had heard of cervical cancer, and merely 28% were aware of the existence of screening tests. Shockingly, only 4% of women reported undergoing screening for cervical cancer, highlighting a significant gap in preventive healthcare services.

Living in rural communities, having lower level of education, and poorer economic status were linked to poorer level of screening uptake. This emphasizes the importance of targeted educational campaigns and accessible healthcare services to reach all segments of the population with the focus on rural communities.

At policy or regulatory levels, Cameroon has acted on smoking, a major risk factor for NCDs by raising taxes on tobacco, making rules to prevent smoking in certain places, and putting warnings on tobacco products. But there’s still more to be done like create guidelines for healthcare providers, the restrict alcohol advertisements, ensure control on the amount of salt and unhealthy fats in food, stop the advertising unhealthy products, and provide guidelines for physical activity.

At community levels, it is important to strengthen healthcare systems to ensure regular blood pressure monitoring, increase access to affordable medications, and promote public awareness about the importance of early screening for cervical cancer as these are critical steps towards reducing the burden of NCDs and improving overall health outcomes for the Cameroonian population.

Reference: Cameroon Demographic Health Survey 2018. National Institute of Statistics and ICF.