Water supply, sanitation and health risks in Yaounde, Cameroon
Population growth and rapid urbanization in Cameroon have led to major demographic changes in the urban centres, potentially resulting in serious environmental problems in the most populated cities such as Yaounde. In order to better understand the impacts on the hygiene conditions in certain quarters of this political capital, we carried out in March 2007, an investigation on the difficulties of water supply, sanitation and health problems. The investigation involved 1397 households distributed among 7 quarters with informal settlements. 17% of households only had a private connection to national company of drinking water distribution (CAMWATER) because of the lack of infrastructure and the high cost of the connection. The households which are unable to afford the cost of getting connected to CAMWATER network, exploit water from CAMWATER public paying fountain (56% of households), wells (17% of households), springs (4% of households), bore-holes (0.07% of household) and rivers (0.001% of household) to satisfy their needs. The majority of these water points (wells, springs and rivers) could be polluted, because of the informal nature of settlements which leads to proximity of habitats to latrines and to points of discharge of waste (solid and liquids). The health problems issuing probably from these potential polluted water points which at times occur as stagnant ponds around the dwellings is shown by the population of the zone of study in particular cases of malaria (100% of households), diarrhoea (24% of household), dysentery (24% of household), typhoid (0.07% of household), skin disease (0.07% of households). These results highlight the problems to which the authorities in charge of the environment and health must first bring a solution in a context to fight against poverty in Cameroon.
Key words: Environment, cleansing, drinking water, peri-urban zone, Yaounde.