Climate change poses a health challenge in Cameroon

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Dr. Paul Eloundou understands the challenges posed by climate change only too well. A resident in Yaoundé and the director of one of the largest district hospitals, he is an advocate for addressing climate change to mitigate health risks in Cameroon. Yaoundé’s population has tripled over the past 20 years, resulting in the construction of many informal settlements with no sewerage systems. With a population of over 3 million and increasing floods, rain-water management and sanitation have become a challenge.

“Air pollution and environment-related diseases are public health issues. It is affecting people’s lives. Malaria and diarrheal diseases in children are major problems,” he said.

To help the government address the sanitation challenges in Cameroon, the African Development Fund in 2013 provided $36 million to finance a sanitation program. The program aided the construction of canals and a treatment plant.

“After the launch of the sanitation program, cases of these diseases have really declined in Yaounde,” Eloundou said.

Through the project, the city was able to build 20km of canals as well as a sludge disposal and treatment facility. The project developed 20% of the main river canal (Mfoundi) and its four tributaries that cross the city, improving living conditions for to almost 2.2 million people in Yaoundé.

The infrastructure helped reduce the number of floods in the city from 15 to 3 annually.

In the hopeful doctor’s eyes, “Yaoundé is changing for the better.”

As proof of the magnitude of the positive impact of this two-phase project, the African Development Bank decided to continue this important work with the complementary Yaoundé Sustainable Sanitation Project (PCADY), to which the African Development Fund pledged, in December 2021, nearly $38.6 million dollars.

A new page has been turned for Yaoundé. And for Dr. Eloundi, appointed in 2020 as head of the new district hospital, ‘Cité Verte’.