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1.  “Research participants want to feel they are better off than they were before research was introduced to them”: engaging cameroonian rural plantation populations in HIV research 
During a period of evolving international consensus on how to engage communities in research, facilitators and barriers to participation in HIV prevention research were explored in a rural plantation community in the coastal region of Cameroon.
A formative rapid assessment using structured observations, focus group discussions (FGD), and key informant interviews (KIIs) was conducted with a purposive non-probabilistic sample of plantation workers and their household members. Eligibility criteria included living or working >1 year within the plantation community and age >18 years. Both rapid and in-depth techniques were used to complete thematic analysis.
Sixty-five persons participated in the study (6 FGDs and 12 KIIs). Participants viewed malaria and gastrointestinal conditions as more common health concerns than HIV. They identified three factors as contributing to HIV risk: concurrent sexual relationships, sex work, and infrequent condom use. Interviewees perceived that the community would participate in HIV research if it is designed to: (1) improve community welfare, (2) provide comprehensive health services and treatment for illnesses, (3) protect the personal information of participants, especially those who test positive for HIV, (4) provide participant incentives, (5) incorporate community input, and (6) minimize disruptions to “everyday life”. Barriers to participation included: (1) fear of HIV testing, (2) mistrust of researchers given possible disrespect or intolerance of plantation community life and lack of concern for communication, (3) time commitment demands, (3) medical care and treatment that would be difficult or costly to access, and (4) life disruptions along with potential requirements for changes in behaviour (i.e., engage in or abstain from alcohol use and sex activities).
Consistent with UNAIDS guidelines for good participatory practice in HIV prevention research, study participants placed a high premium on researchers’ politeness, trust, respect, communication, tolerance and empathy towards their community. Plantation community members viewed provision of comprehensive health services as an important community benefit likely to enhance HIV research participation.
PMCID: PMC3460749  PMID: 22726937
2.  Anthropometry measures and prevalence of obesity in the urban adult population of Cameroon: an update from the Cameroon Burden of Diabetes Baseline Survey 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:228.
The objective of the study was to provide baseline and reference data on the prevalence and distribution of overweight and obesity, using different anthropometric measurements in adult urban populations in Cameroon.
The Cameroon Burden of Diabetes Baseline Survey was a cross-sectional study, conducted in 4 urban districts (Yaoundé, Douala, Garoua and Bamenda) of Cameroon, using the WHO Step approach for population-based assessment of cardiovascular risk factors. Body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were measured using standardized methods. Overall, 10,011 individuals, 6,004 women and 4,007 men, from 4,189 households, aged 15 years and above participated.
Based on body mass index, more than 25% of urban men and almost half of urban women were either overweight or obese with 6.5% of men and 19.5% of women being obese. The prevalence of obesity showed considerable variation with age in both genders. Using body mass index provided the highest prevalence of obesity in men (6.5%) and waist-to-hip ratio the lowest prevalence (3.2%). Among women, using waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference yielded the highest prevalence of obesity (28%) and body mass index the lowest (19.5%). There was a trend towards an increase in age-adjusted odd ratios of being overweight or obese with duration of education in both sexes.
The study provides current data on anthropometric measurements and obesity in urban Cameroonian populations, and found high prevalences of overweight and obesity particularly over 35 years of age, and among women. Prevalence varied according to the measure used. Our findings highlight the need to carry out further studies in Cameroonian and other Sub-Saharan African populations to provide appropriate cut-off points for the identification of people at risk of obesity-related disorders, and indicate the need to implement interventions to reverse increasing levels of obesity.
PMCID: PMC1579217  PMID: 16970806

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