Cameroon is a large,diversified and growing country with a population of 20 549 221 bordered by Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic , Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. 60% of the territory is dominated by sub-tropical conditions while 40% falls in the semi-arid Sahel belt.
Despite political and social stability for the last 3 decades, large geographical disparities in economic status continue to exist with poverty rates significantly higher in rural areas and in the Northern regions of the country. The North and Extreme North did not benefit from infrastructure and productive investment, leaving the most populated part of the country particularly depleted. Whilst the European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection has classified the overall situation in Cameroon as a moderate humanitarian crisis with potential deterioration due to external shocks, DG ECHO's Integrated Analysis Framework for 2013-14 has identified high humanitarian needs in the North and Extreme North of the country. The vulnerability of the population living in this area is assessed to be high.
Mother and child health indicators have gradually deteriorated over the last decade. Pregnancy and childbirth remain a significant risk factor for mortality. Under-five mortality rate increased from 64.3 per 1 000 live births in 1990 to 74.1 in 2004. This trend is similar for the maternal mortality rate (from 430 deaths per 100 000 births in 1998 to 669 in 2004). According to the most recent estimate by the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory (2012), malaria is the most significant cause of morbidity in Cameroon, while 60% of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic; acute respiratory infections and pneumonia are also common causes of morbidity, albeit with a decrease in prevalence in recent years.
The mortality profile of Cameroon is also marked by infectious diseases such as cholera and yellow fever. Since 1996 and recently in 2010 and 2011, northern regions have experienced upsurges of cholera with high mortality rates. In 2010 there were 9 404 reported cases with 601 deaths while in 2011, 9 regions out of 10, including the Extreme North, reported 22 762 cases, leading to 786 deaths. Population movement from Nigeria is now an additional risk factor for disease spreading. Poor access to potable water (<25%) and sanitation facilities (<5%) exacerbate the occurrence of frequent outbreaks.