, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 287–297 | Cite as

Health Challenges and Assets of Forest-Dependent Populations in Cameroon

  • Savanna L. CarsonEmail author
  • Fabrice Kentatchime
  • Cyrus Sinai
  • Elizabeth A. Van Dyne
  • Eric Djomo Nana
  • Brian L. Cole
  • Hilary A. Godwin
Original Contribution


Indigenous populations often have poorer health outcomes than the general population. Marginalization, colonization, and migration from traditional lands have all affected traditional medicine usage, health access, and indigenous health equity. An in-depth understanding of health for specific populations is essential to develop actionable insights into contributing factors to poor indigenous health. To develop a more complete, nuanced understanding of indigenous health status, we conducted first-person interviews with both the indigenous Baka and neighboring Bantu villagers (the reference population in the region), as well as local clinicians in Southern Cameroon. These interviews elucidated perspectives on the most pressing challenges to health and assets to health for both groups, including access to health services, causes of illness, the uses and values of traditional versus modern medicine, and community resilience during severe health events. Baka interviewees, in particular, reported facing health challenges due to affordability and discrimination in public health centers, health effects due to migration from their traditional lands, and a lack of culturally appropriate public health services.


Indigenous health Environmental health Cameroon Forest-dependent populations Baka Rural health access 



The authors would like to thank the local participants for their personal stories and time in the participation of this research as well as members of the research team that assisted with the facilitation of research logistics and village chief connections in Cameroon: Kevin Njabo, Tom Smith, and Francis Forzi. This work was supported by the Environmental Solutions Venture Grant Program in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.

Supplementary material

10393_2019_1411_MOESM1_ESM.docx (295 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 295 kb)


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© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public HealthUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Higher Institute of Environmental Sciences – IBAY SupNkolbissonYaoundeCameroon
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Mattel Children’s HospitalUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public HealthUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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