Cameroon flag

Cameroon, Africa

Centres:Phase:PI:Age Groups
Yaounde3 Professor Christopher Kuaban 13-14

National Coordinator:


  • National Coordinator for Cameroon
  • Phase Three Principal Investigator for Yaounde

Professor Christopher Kuaban

Faculty of Medicine
University of Yaounde
Centre Pasteur DU
B.P. 4021

ISAAC in Yaounde, Cameroon

Cameroon is a small central African country with a population presently estimated at 20 million inhabitants. Asthma is not an uncommon disease in the country but before the ISAAC adventure only a limited number of hospital based studies had been carried out in the country. Consequently, the magnitude of asthma and allergies in Cameroon is not known. When we therefore heard about it, we thought it was an opportunity that would let us have real data about the prevalence of these diseases in our country.

We learnt about ISAAC Phase Three through Professor Nadia Ait-Khaled, the regional coordinator for francophone African countries and without hesitation decided we would participate in the venture. Our regional coordinator then asked us to register with the ISAAC steering committee in New Zealand. This was immediately done. She also asked us to help in the translation of the core questionnaire as well as the environmental questionnaire from English to French given that in Cameroon we speak and write the two languages. We willingly did the translation. But our hopes were dashed as we were told after this that we had to look for funding ourselves for the survey. Thanks to Dr Juergen Noeske, a colleague with whom I have worked for several years, we were able to obtain funding from the German Development Cooperation (GTZ, presently GIZ).

We designed our survey to be carried out in the West Region of Cameroon because in the previous years we had conducted several prevalence and operational studies there particularly in the field of tuberculosis. In this region we chose Bafoussam, the regional capital city and the third largest town of Cameroon in terms of population as our study site. All the 13-14 year old children in the 12 high schools found in the Bafoussam municipality were to be studied. We finally conducted the survey in May 2003, recruiting 2083 children out of a total of 3291 registered in these schools. Our data base was later on sent to the steering committee in New Zealand where after several correspondences checking on some inconsistencies in our data base, our data was finally validated.

Thanks to ISAAC and the publications that followed, we now have real data on the prevalence of asthma and allergies for our country. These findings have permitted us to compare our situation in this domain to that of other countries that participated in the ISAAC study. These results have also been communicated to our Ministry of Public Health and have led to asthma being packaged alongside other non communicable diseases as a major public health problem. Finally, the results of the study have given us baseline information for future interventions in the field of asthma and allergies.


We wish to thank immensely the education administrative authorities of the West Region of Cameroon as well as teachers and children who made it possible through their cooperation for us to realize this survey. We gratefully acknowledge financial support given us for this survey by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). We wish to thank immensely the team of our fieldworkers for all they worked to make the survey a success.