Skip to main content
Top

2023 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

CAMEROON: Epidemiological Insights, Public Health Response, and Potential Psycho-Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic in Douala—A Population-Based Study

Author : Blaise Nguendo-Yongsi

Published in: Cities Under COVID-19: A Systems Perspective

Publisher: Springer Nature Singapore

Activate our intelligent search to find suitable subject content or patents.

search-config
loading …

Abstract

An outbreak of a new coronavirus disease that causes respiratory tract infections and can be lethal in humans began in China in December 2019. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a pandemic (Coronavirus disease (COVID19) outbreak situation. Geneva. Available from https://​www.​who.​int/​emergencies/​diseases/​novelcoronavirus​ 2019 (Consulted on November 28th 2020)). COVID-19 started spreading rapidly to other countries by the end of December 2019. With the spread of the virus worldwide, global concerns about human pandemics are growing. As of December 2021, the global death toll had passed 5,455,963, with infections rising to more than 289,116,951 (Coronavirus. Available from: https://​www.​worldometers.​info/​coronavirus/​country/​turkey/​). The first case in Africa was identified in Egypt in February 2020. According to the WHO, there have been 9,822,511 confirmed cases and 229,061 deaths registered in Africa by 30 December 2021. South Africa and Morocco have crossed 1,000,000 cases. They are followed by Tunisia (726,706 cases), Ethiopia (420,342 cases) and Egypt (388,734 cases) (Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports, 2021 Available from: https:// www.​who.​int/​emergencies/​diseases/​novel-coronavirus-2019/​situation-reports (consulté le 5 juin 2020)).

Dont have a licence yet? Then find out more about our products and how to get one now:

Springer Professional "Wirtschaft+Technik"

Online-Abonnement

Mit Springer Professional "Wirtschaft+Technik" erhalten Sie Zugriff auf:

  • über 102.000 Bücher
  • über 537 Zeitschriften

aus folgenden Fachgebieten:

  • Automobil + Motoren
  • Bauwesen + Immobilien
  • Business IT + Informatik
  • Elektrotechnik + Elektronik
  • Energie + Nachhaltigkeit
  • Finance + Banking
  • Management + Führung
  • Marketing + Vertrieb
  • Maschinenbau + Werkstoffe
  • Versicherung + Risiko

Jetzt Wissensvorsprung sichern!

Springer Professional "Technik"

Online-Abonnement

Mit Springer Professional "Technik" erhalten Sie Zugriff auf:

  • über 67.000 Bücher
  • über 390 Zeitschriften

aus folgenden Fachgebieten:

  • Automobil + Motoren
  • Bauwesen + Immobilien
  • Business IT + Informatik
  • Elektrotechnik + Elektronik
  • Energie + Nachhaltigkeit
  • Maschinenbau + Werkstoffe




 

Jetzt Wissensvorsprung sichern!

Springer Professional "Wirtschaft"

Online-Abonnement

Mit Springer Professional "Wirtschaft" erhalten Sie Zugriff auf:

  • über 67.000 Bücher
  • über 340 Zeitschriften

aus folgenden Fachgebieten:

  • Bauwesen + Immobilien
  • Business IT + Informatik
  • Finance + Banking
  • Management + Führung
  • Marketing + Vertrieb
  • Versicherung + Risiko




Jetzt Wissensvorsprung sichern!

Footnotes
1
The Anglophone Crisis, also known as the Cameroonian Civil War, is an ongoing war in the Northern and Southern Cameroons regions of Cameroon. The roots of the conflict can be found in the country’s colonial history, as Cameroon inherited two distinct traditions in the wake of independence: one French-oriented and the other British-oriented. There were critical differences between the two systems in terms of education, provision of justice, and institutional arrangements for governance (Anyangwe, Carlson. Betrayal of Too Trusting a People. The UN, the UK and the Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons: The UN, the UK and the Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons, pp. 108–111. African Books Collective, 2009). Objective socioeconomic differences between the English and French-speaking regions do not exactly match up to the Anglophone population’s perceptions of inequality and exclusion. Prior to the crisis, the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions (NWSW) did not lag behind the rest of the country in terms of economic and social outcomes. Rather, they accounted for a substantial share of Cameroon’s limited formal economy and agricultural exports and employment. However, Anglophones appeared to have a harder time entering the public sector, which many Cameroonians regard as a principal path to financial security. The current crisis began with peaceful protests in 2016 and quickly escalated into a full-scale armed conflict with clear secessionist and criminal elements. In fact, following the suppression of 2016 Cameroonian protests, Ambazonian separatists in the Anglophone NWSW territories launched a guerilla campaign against Cameroonian security forces, and later unilaterally proclaimed the restoration of independence. In November 2017, the government of Cameroon declared war on the separatists and sent its army into the Anglophone regions. The conflict has featured repeated and deliberate attacks against symbols of the state and the boycotting of national institutions, reflecting a deep rejection of state legitimacy and a sense that the way of life in the NWSW regions is under threat. The impact on human lives and displacement is the most dramatic and visible. The violence has triggered a large and growing humanitarian crisis, while the food situation is alarming. The conflict has also triggered a serious internal displacement crisis: around 680,000 persons, or close to 15% of the pre-crisis population, has been internally displaced from their homes in the NWSW as of December 2019. In addition, the conflict has resulted in the significant destruction of critical assets; schools, health facilities, and productive infrastructure have been deliberately targeted and destroyed. The closure or limited functioning of education services and health facilities has also strained essential health services. Population displacement within NWSW, combined with insecurity and poor living conditions, has increased the risk of disease and rendered difficult management and monitoring of COVID-19 in those areas. Beyond NWSW, the arrival of internally displaced persons in Douala has overstrained a health sector that was already lacking in adequate workforce, supplies, and services.
 
2
This high rate of cases can be explained differently:
(i)
by population’s perception regarding disease. In fact, disease is not a clinical issue in African societies (Augé 1986). Therefore, perceptions and representations of households in Douala suggest that COVID-19 is not perceived rationally (scientifically), but rather considered to have its source in the invisible world monitored by their dead ancestors. Thus, they identify five different causes of the disease: incorporation of an evil object, loss of the soul, being under the influence of an evil spirit, transgression of a socio-cultural prohibition, assault by a sorcerer. Depending on the supposed cause of the disease, people proceed through rituals and incantations that are supposed to push the evil out of the body or the mind. We can thus understand the statements of a few households surveyed in the city and considered COVID-19 as a violation of a social prohibition;
 
(ii)
by the lack of compliance to health measures, due to COVID-19 symptoms’ similarity with those of the seasonal influenza. Dry cough, fever, fatigue and myalgia have been mentioned as the major COVID-19 signs and symptoms; city dwellers in Douala say these symptoms are also those of the flu which is endemic in the city. So, people do not care too much about COVID-19, which they consider to be another European flea/invention. Besides, lack of compliance can be explained by the fact that the majority of households were to have a much harder time putting their economies into the ‘medically induced coma’ of a full lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them work in the informal sector, often for a daily wage, and depend heavily on public services, and have limited savings and no access to credit. For many, compliance with governmental health measures is not a viable option, and not working comes at the expense of food and other necessities;
 
(iii)
by a third avenue of explanation that is of a political and economic nature. Cameroon mainly relies on foreign aid. Thus, the national authorities tend to exaggerate the figures under the assumption that the amount of financial assistance given to fight the pandemic will be proportional to the rate of infection of COVID-19. In this way, they believe they will generate financial surpluses which will be used to remain in power and maintain their anti-democratic political regime. Such an immoral strategy started with the AIDS pandemic in 1980s and 90s. Decision-makers who were managing the pandemic made millions of CFA (the currency of Cameroon) and are currently considered as politically and economically influential men.
 
 
3
Those 13 measures are as follows: Cameroon’s land, air and sea borders closed, with the exception of cargo flights and vessels transporting consumer products and essential goods and materials, whose stopover times will be limited and supervised; issuance of entry visas to Cameroon suspended; all public and private training establishments of the various levels of education, from nursery school to higher education closed; gatherings of more than 50 persons prohibited throughout the national territory; school and university games and attractions suspended; bars, restaurants, theatres and entertainment spots systematically closed from 6 p.m.; regulation of consumer flows in markets and shopping centres; urban and inter-urban travels undertaken only in cases of extreme necessity; drivers of cars, taxis and motorbikes urged to avoid overloading; private health facilities, hotels and other lodging facilities, vehicles and specific equipment necessary for the implementation of the COVID-19 pandemic response plan requisitioned as required by competent authorities; public administration giving preference to electronic communications and digital tools for meetings likely to bring together more than ten people; missions abroad of members of government and public and para-public sector employees suspended; and urging the public to strictly observe hygiene measures recommended by the WHO, including regular hand washing with soap, avoiding close contact such as shaking hands or hugging, and covering the mouth when sneezing.
 
Literature
go back to reference Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, Solo K, Yaacoub S, Schünemann HJ (2020) COVID-19 Systematic Urgent Review Group Effort (SURGE) study authors. Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 395:1973–1987 Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, Solo K, Yaacoub S, Schünemann HJ (2020) COVID-19 Systematic Urgent Review Group Effort (SURGE) study authors. Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 395:1973–1987
go back to reference Ebrahim SH, Ahmed QA, Gozzer E, Schlagenhauf P, Memish ZA (2020) Covid-19 and community mitigation strategies in a pandemic. BMJ 2020:368 Ebrahim SH, Ahmed QA, Gozzer E, Schlagenhauf P, Memish ZA (2020) Covid-19 and community mitigation strategies in a pandemic. BMJ 2020:368
go back to reference Filandri M, Pasqua S, Struffolino E (2020) Being working poor or feeling working poor? the role of work intensity and job stability for subjective poverty. Soc Ind Res 147:781–803CrossRef Filandri M, Pasqua S, Struffolino E (2020) Being working poor or feeling working poor? the role of work intensity and job stability for subjective poverty. Soc Ind Res 147:781–803CrossRef
go back to reference Gilbert M, Pullano G, Pinotti F, Valdano E, Poletto C, Boëlle P-Y et al (2020) Preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against importations of COVID-19: a modelling study. The Lancet 395(10227):871–877CrossRef Gilbert M, Pullano G, Pinotti F, Valdano E, Poletto C, Boëlle P-Y et al (2020) Preparedness and vulnerability of African countries against importations of COVID-19: a modelling study. The Lancet 395(10227):871–877CrossRef
go back to reference Hamidi S, Sabouri S, Ewing R (2020) Does density aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic? J Am Plan Assoc 86:495–509CrossRef Hamidi S, Sabouri S, Ewing R (2020) Does density aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic? J Am Plan Assoc 86:495–509CrossRef
go back to reference Harvey WT, Carabelli AM, Jackson B et al (2021) SARS-CoV-2 variants, spike mutations and immune escape. Nat Rev Microbiol 19:409–424CrossRef Harvey WT, Carabelli AM, Jackson B et al (2021) SARS-CoV-2 variants, spike mutations and immune escape. Nat Rev Microbiol 19:409–424CrossRef
go back to reference Ilardi A, Chieffi S, Iavarone A, Ilardi CR (2021) SARS-CoV-2 in Italy: population density correlates with morbidity and mortality. Jpn J Infect Dis 74(1):61–64 Ilardi A, Chieffi S, Iavarone A, Ilardi CR (2021) SARS-CoV-2 in Italy: population density correlates with morbidity and mortality. Jpn J Infect Dis 74(1):61–64
go back to reference Mbeutcha Ngueya AJ (2020) Challenges of the sustainable development goals in informal settlements: the case of the goal 3, 6 and 11 in Douala, Littoral Region of Cameroon, master dissertation, University of Bamenda, p 173 Mbeutcha Ngueya AJ (2020) Challenges of the sustainable development goals in informal settlements: the case of the goal 3, 6 and 11 in Douala, Littoral Region of Cameroon, master dissertation, University of Bamenda, p 173
go back to reference MINSANTE CAMEROUN Rapport de situation COVID-19, N°23, Période du 28 au 30/04/2020, p 4 MINSANTE CAMEROUN Rapport de situation COVID-19, N°23, Période du 28 au 30/04/2020, p 4
go back to reference Ogen Y (2020) Assessing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels as a contributing factor to coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality. Sci Total Environ 726:138605CrossRef Ogen Y (2020) Assessing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels as a contributing factor to coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality. Sci Total Environ 726:138605CrossRef
go back to reference Omata N, Kaplan J (2013) Refugee livelihoods in Kampala, Nakivale and Kyangwali refugee settlements: patterns of engagement with the private sector. Oxford Universty, Refugee Studies Centre, Working paper 95, p 26 Omata N, Kaplan J (2013) Refugee livelihoods in Kampala, Nakivale and Kyangwali refugee settlements: patterns of engagement with the private sector. Oxford Universty, Refugee Studies Centre, Working paper 95, p 26
go back to reference Peijin EM, Fan A, Shu HL, Shin YA, Perera K, Aik HQ et al (2020) Needs and concerns of patients in isolation care units learning from Covid19: a reflection. World J Clin Cases 8(10):12–20 Peijin EM, Fan A, Shu HL, Shin YA, Perera K, Aik HQ et al (2020) Needs and concerns of patients in isolation care units learning from Covid19: a reflection. World J Clin Cases 8(10):12–20
go back to reference United Nations (2020) COVID-19 and human rights: we are all in this together. Geneva, p 22 United Nations (2020) COVID-19 and human rights: we are all in this together. Geneva, p 22
go back to reference Vampa D (2021) COVID-19 and territorial policy dynamics in Western Europe: comparing France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Publius J Fed 51(4):601–626CrossRef Vampa D (2021) COVID-19 and territorial policy dynamics in Western Europe: comparing France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Publius J Fed 51(4):601–626CrossRef
go back to reference Wang Y et al (2020) Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing: a cohort study in Beijing, China. BMJ Global Health 5:e002794CrossRef Wang Y et al (2020) Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing: a cohort study in Beijing, China. BMJ Global Health 5:e002794CrossRef
Metadata
Title
CAMEROON: Epidemiological Insights, Public Health Response, and Potential Psycho-Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic in Douala—A Population-Based Study
Author
Blaise Nguendo-Yongsi
Copyright Year
2023
Publisher
Springer Nature Singapore
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-8163-0_3