In Cameroon, four regions are affected by severe malnutrition: the North, the Far North, Adamaoua and the East. The East with an estimated 32% of the population is reported to be the most affected region.
In one of its towns Ndélélé, located more than 230 kilometers from Bertoua, people only eat cassava couscous to survive.
“We eat couscous in the morning, at noon and in the evening without making good sauces. And someone could eat it like that for 3 or 4 days before finding something else”. Ngao Nguio Xavier, a community health worker said.
In the locality, meals are not varied and the consequences are disastrous for the health of children under five years old. The Ndelele hospital says they now receive 2 to 3 cases per week.
Dr. Ngum Julius is the director of the Ndélélé Hospital.
“In 2021, approximately 260 cases of malnutrition were identified and these cases are those treated in the health district. But the community relays are working hard to make home visits in order to detect all these children suffering from malnutrition and to send them to the health facilities for better care”.
The predicament has prompted the non-profit scientific research organization, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) that focuses on tropical forests in developing countries to conduct a study to understand the causes of malnutrition and identifying the needs of the population in the town.
Africanews correspondent Joel Honore Kouam reports that “the hospital in Ndélélé alone has received more than 200 cases of malnutrition, most of them children: As a solution, CIFOR is implementing in this locality new plants in agriculture and new foodstuffs to change the eating habits of these populations who were once obliged to eat only cassava couscous”.