Across Africa, members of the UNITE Parliamentary Network for Global Health continue to champion health-related causes that have a significant impact on their constituents, nations and the rest of the world at large. On July 6, 2023, Hon. Peter Ambang Njume, Member of Parliament for the South-West Constituency of Cameroon filed questions on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and malnutrition at the National Assembly to the Prime Minister, Honorable Joseph Ngute.
In providing some context for his questions, Hon. Peter Njume noted that malnutrition weighs heavily on the healthcare system of the country, severely impeding economic development hence the need to quicken up steps to prevent compromising the future of Cameroon any further. He also observed that malnutrition contributes to stunted growth which affects nearly 1,200,000 children under the age of 5. Also worrying is the rate of anaemia among children in Cameroon with estimates at about 2,000,000. Related to promoting health coverage across the country, Hon. Njume also reiterated Cameroon’s commitment since 2015 to reform its healthcare system towards achieving UHC by 2030.
Hon. Njume reminded the National Assembly that between 2018-2019 financial year alone, the rate of household expenditure on accessing healthcare stood at 72%, according to the national health accounts presented on March 29 in Yaoundé, with over 25% households becoming impoverished thereby having difficulties in accessing health services. He further noted that:
Only 6.46% of the Cameroonian population is covered by a social health protection mechanism. This indicates that the majority of the population is not part of any financial risk protection scheme, and continues to bear the cost of health care through out-of-pocket payments.
– Hon. Peter Njume, MP From Cameroon
Hon. Njume therefore asked the Prime Minister, “When can we expect the national law about UHC to our table at the National Assembly? And what is the strategy and timetable for the reforms the government intends to implement to achieve a significant and sustainable increase in the health budget over the next few years, with a view to achieving UHC in Cameroon by 2030?”
Prime Minister Ngute in his reply, assured that in order to achieve “the sustainability of the budget allocated to healthcare with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon, there are plans to organize evidence based advocacy to increase domestic revenue for health sustainability”.
Regarding malnutrition, Hon. Njume again highlighted the severity of the problem, noting that:
Every year, nearly 35,000 children under the age of 5 die as a result of malnutrition, even though this could be prevented. In addition to the loss of children’s lives, women’s lives are also lost as a result of anaemia.
– Hon. Peter Njume, MP From Cameroon
Hon. Njume proceeded to directly inquire the Hon. Prime Minister: “In view of the scale and persistence of nutritional problems among the Cameroonian population, and their impact on the various development sectors, can you tell us what measures the Government intends to take between now and 2030, to achieve the objectives of the SND30 (“Stratégie Nationale de Développement-Cameroun 2030” / Cameroon National Development Strategy 2020-2030), in order to boost the development of nutrition in Cameroon, an essential link in the improvement of Well-Being and the Human Capital necessary for the economic and social development of Cameroon by 2030?”
In a brief response, Prime Minister Joseph Ngute noted that: “an inter-ministerial committee to combat malnutrition was set up in August 2014 with a view to adopting a holistic approach to solving the problem of malnutrition”. He further revealed that the Government has also established “the Cameroon Network of Councils for Nutrition in order to encourage grassroots action”.
UNITE continues to work very closely with our committed and hardworking members as well as partners to champion Global Health agenda across the world.