Maternal mortality rates in Cameroon have fluctuated in recent years at precariously high rates. High fertility combined with endemic poverty, limited access to health care, and cultural practices that increase the spread of AIDS all contribute to significantly higher rates of maternal mortality1. While various action plans have been established and international assistance has been obtained23 these programs have not been able to overcome the significant ecological, cultural and structural challenges currently found in Cameroon.

cameroon_mother

In 1990 the maternal mortality rates was approximately 1,000 deaths per 100,000 live births4. This rate dropped into the 700 range by 20005, but has fluctated in the the high 600 range for years6 at times even reaching the 1990 high’s7

 

“The weak coverage of healthcare in the Extreme-North province explains the large maternal mortality rate from eclampsia, uterine rupture, excision and other FGM, childbirth carried out by un-trained traditional obstetricians, and HIV/AIDS. The high rate of early pregnancies (from 1994-2004, 26.54% of teenagers up to 19 years were mothers), badly spaced pregnancies, and immediate consequences of early and forced marriages are other factors in the problems of health to which girls and women face in my area”8.

 

It is possible that weal health care coverage may be associated with weak women’s employment. Women with no employment reported greater incidences of illness and difficulty recovering from birth and had higher rates of maternal related deaths9.

Some organizations like Midwife International are attempting to train the next generation of health care professionals. Where programs such as these undertaken at a national level significant progress reducing maternal mortality rates would likely happen quickly as has been seen in other countries.


 

  1. CEDAW, Concluding Observations, (Published 2003), (Accessed 04 April, 2011) 4, 5 
  2. Women’s Reproductive Rights in Cameroon: A Shadow Report 1999 8 
  3. Cameroon CEDAW 1999 68 
  4. MSNBC, 16 October 2007 
  5. UN Statistical Database 
  6. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012) 384, 385 
  7. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, Published 30 May, 2010 
  8. Aissa Doumara, founder of Northern branch of Association de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes in Cameroon, interview date 8-25- 2006 
  9. Women Deliver, Background paper for the Women Deliver conference, 18-20 OCTOBER 2007, Family Care International and International Center For Research On Women, 2007) 23  

  1. CEDAW, Concluding Observations, (Published 2003), (Accessed 04 April, 2011) 4, 5 

  2. Women’s Reproductive Rights in Cameroon: A Shadow Report 1999 8 

  3. Cameroon CEDAW 1999 68 

  4. MSNBC, 16 October 2007 

  5. UN Statistical Database 

  6. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012) 384, 385 

  7. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, Published 30 May, 2010 

  8. Aissa Doumara, founder of Northern branch of Association de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes in Cameroon, interview date 8-25- 2006 

  9. Women Deliver, Background paper for the Women Deliver conference, 18-20 OCTOBER 2007, Family Care International and International Center For Research On Women, 2007) 23