Consequences of Stress on Children’s Development

A friend in the name  of Mbong Alice experienced a natural disaster. This natural disaster involved the seismic explosion of methane gas of lake Nyos  in August 21st 1986. This is a cradle lake in the North West region of Cameroon.Alice experienced this gas explosion and this has been a source of concern to her and for many living around it still remember the seismic eruption of the lake which led to many people and animals being burnt to death by the hot lavae forced out by the erupting lake.   Recalling the event, when she woke up that morning, she was having difficulties breathing. She went to her brother’s room saw him sleeping but she did not know he was death. Later, she realized that there was massive  death of people and animals. There was fear, panic, surviving people were evacuated to the hospital including her and later resettle temporarily to a nearby village. Before being evacuated to the hospital, they were given red palm oil as first aid against the inhaled poisonous gas.  There was general support  from the various churches, communities and the government in terms of money and material items.  A seismograph have also been installed in the lake to help notify and indicate a possible gas explosion in the future.

The country i have chosen is Cameroon. The common stressors that impact the development of children

in Cameroon are poverty and disease.

Poverty in Cameroon is experienced in different fields and areas that relates to child growth and development characterized by poor nutrition and malnutrition, poor health and poor road infrastructure among others. recent survey shows that there is no region in Cameroon that is untouched by poverty, the North west being one of the most affected with inadequate road infrastructure. According to the International fund for Agricultural development (IFAD), poverty in the region has worsened in the past 10 years and several studies and surveys shows that children and women are the most hard-hit. Energy poverty is also identify in Cameroon as approximately 90% of the rural population and 74% of the total population lack access to electricity which is the main source of energy. Kerosene is the most common form of fuel based lighting in the country but it is expensive and endangers the environment, health and safety of children and families.  The poverty level in Cameroon can negatively affect brain development in early childhood as a result of lack of proper nutrition and quality care and can also increase depression, substance abuse and social isolation  in parents. There is also high risk of child abuse and neglect within poor families in Cameroon and abuse is seen to have  affected children’s abilities to establish healthy attachments and can led to depression, anxiety propensity for violence. More over, poor families in Cameroon lives in over crowded, polluted, high crime,  and shanty areas, the case of mokolo and Melang in Yaounde  as such have failed to afford proper child care. Worse of all, poverty in Cameroon has contributed to sickness, and increase child mortality rate. also, most children do not have access to the media be it television or radio not to mention the internet and thus do not benefit from the numerous educative media programs that can influence their growth and development. To minimize the harm of poverty,the following measures are being taken:

– Attempts are made to modernize agriculture which is the main occupation of about 90% of the population with the subsidization of agricultural tools.

– Most roads linking urban towns and rural areas are under the process of reconstruction for example the Bamenda – Kumbo road.

– Light Africa is on the process to implement the use of firefly solar lamps to provide clean, efficient and reliable off grid lighting that is less expensive than kerosene to African consumers including Cameroon. Also most families have resorted to the use of generator machines for electricity supply.

The prevalence of disease is another stressor that impact the development of children in Cameroon. Example of such diseases include but not limited: water borne diseases like diarrhea and cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid,  yellow fever, mealses, minigititis, leukemia  and AIDS. According to UNICEF, about 5 out of every 200 children 0-59 months who contact diarrhea die from it. Many children die of diarrhea because of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices. Leukemia is still a deathly disease in Yaounde as studies carried out in the Pediatric unit of the University teaching hospital center of Yaounde proved that 9 out of 11 children  of age 5years and below had lymphoblastic leukemia in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon. Also AIDS is another killer disease that is highly impacting the development of many children. Generally, it gets to a child from the mother either during pregnancy, labor or after birth via breast feeding. It can cause childhood illness and common opportunistic infections likepneumonia and tuberculosis.  These diseases can impact the development of children as children living with them especially AIDS often have a number of physical problems that can cause them to grow poorly.  There also negatively effect a child’s appetite and digestive system as a whole and such children always have trouble gaining or keeping weight. Cognitively, disease infested children perform negatively against peers and socially such children are delayed in their development especially children affected by AIDS.

The following measures have been taken to minimize the harm by disease in Cameroon:

1) Hand washing  with soap at key times has been implemented by UNICEF in Cameroon to all children, schools, families and communities and diarrhea have been reduced by 48%. Also as an innovative initiative for hand washing at schools, the ministry of Basic Education and the complexe Chimique Cameroon  (CCC) , a soap producing company has partnered with UNICEF to provide supplies in 300 schools across the country for the hand washing initiative.

2). Hygiene and sanitation is taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

3). Vaccination campaigns and immunization of children as more than 80% of children 0 – 5 years are vaccinated each year against diseases like measles, typhoid, polio, hepatitis B, yellow fever with UNICEF support. Mosquitoes nets are also distributed to mosquitoes infested areas to prevent malaria.

4). Essential nutrition services are provided in priority health district where children’s malnutrition is a problem.

5). PLS  promotes the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc and household water treatment by distributing point-of-use household water treatment products. The use of zinc and ORS was also recommended by WHO and UNICEF in 2004 as the best way to reduce diarrhea.

6). UNICEF also worked with the government to secure 120 million Euros from global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria with the aim to increase bed net coverage from 13% to over 80% by 2015.



1. United Nations  Children’s Fund and World Head Organization, WHO/UNICEF joint statement: Clinical management of acute diarrhea, UNICEF, New York, 2004.

2. Pediatric service, university teaching hospital center ( UTHC), Yaounde, Cameroon.


4. How does HIV Affect Children?/

5. The influence of the environment in early years of childhood.

6. Cameroon: Nascent solutions- Bui- Cameroon.






      The topic I have chosen is immunization. This is the situation where by the body immune system is stimulated to defend and fight against attack by particular contagious diseases like measles, polio, hepatitis B, mumps, tetanus,, pertussis or whooping cough and rubella among others. (Berger, 2009). It is also called vaccination that protect the body against diseases.  Two types of immunizations that is Active and passive have been identified. (Wikipedia). It is worth of mention that immunization is very important to both the adult and child because it enable the immune system to fight against on coming diseases. It also protect children from diseases and serious complications like deafness, blindness, and brain damage and it prevent the spread of diseases. ( Berger, 2009).

      With immunization, some children diseases like small pox, rotovirus, polio, and measles, have become rare in most countries.

      Some problems identified with immunization is the fact that some parents do not follow up the vaccination of their children and end up not completing the required vaccines for the children that might adversely affect them, some focus and pay attention only to the side effects of the vaccine and some vaccines are not yet available . All these contribute to increase child mortality rate. ( Berger, 2009).

     Being aware of what immunization is and knowing the impacts if immunization, i will be able to create an awareness on children and parents on the need for it.  I will also create and implement immunization promotion curriculum in the learning program where disease control and immunization will be taught.



Berger, K. S. (2009). The developing person through childhood (5th ed. ). New York, NY: Worth Publishers

WIKIPEDIA, The free encyclopedia





My Birth Experience

      My birth experience i had was that of my daughter. I was pregnant for her when i was 18. At the early stage of my pregnancy, i was so scare and nervous. I could only imagine child birth with knowledge from my biology lessons and from viewing images about child birth  that were so scaring. But then as time went on, I nursed a lot of positive thoughts about putting to birth and becoming a single mother. I believe what helped me was my continuous prayers and prenatal lessons i was receiving.

      Just like any woman, at the 9th of pregnancy, I was anxious for a spontaneous delivery and to see my baby. At this time I was also thinking of going continuing education after delivery. My due date came but nothing happened. I was worried something was wrong and also, school had started. Gosh, that was frustrating. I went for my weekly appointment and was told my baby was doing good. 

      Then comes the D – day. In the morning of September 10th, at 5:00, i woke up, used the bathroom but strangely, i started feeling a kind of sharp pain under my stomach, on and off and i was also frequently using the bathroom. After a few minutes, contractions started, i got up, prepared my bag then went back to bed. I didn’t tell any body what i was experiencing. My contractions were increasing. Any time there started, i will make a walk between the rooms then sit when it cools. This went on for two hours. Out of a sudden when i was making a walk around the yard, water poured out of me. I called my little sister and told her to get ready and go with me to the hospital.

      we left the house and walked to the hospital. On the way it was difficult for me to walk faster because, I had to stop walking any time my contractions increased. We reached the hospital and went directly to the maternity and I was send to the labor ward after being examined by the nurse on duty. She scared me when she said ” This is first case and I don’t like to delivering first cases” then she left and i was with two mid wives. She scared a hell out of me. I was confused. My little sister went and called my mother. They took me to the delivery room and on the bed. I lied on my back. My contractions were continuous. I could not help it. I even struggled to stand but only went as far as sitting just for few seconds. I was also pushing when i felt like to. The mid wife sent her hand in to me like she was trying to feel then ask me to push hard. this i did then my baby came out. Then I felt a big relive and no pain. My baby cried and she said to me, it’s a girl. I was so happy. She gave me the baby and i hold her on my arms. she was small but very cute.  At the same time my baby came out, my mother was by the door trying to get in but she was not allowed to. This was my birth experience, 14years ago. it is always fresh in my memory.

      My thought is that women should be strong and determine and try to avoid thinking about issues that might adversely affect them and their unborn child. They should also take good care of the selves, follow up medical appointments and eat nutritive food.

      Since I am not the native of the US and i have been here just for a year, I have chosen the USA. I ask two of my colleagues at work how birthing is done here. What i learned from them and also from reading a birthing experience online is that: Expectant mothers have private doctors and have to call them when when they starts to labor, have also learned of individual appointments with doctors, have learned of special individual classes meant to prepare the expectant mother against labor pain and relaxation and the use of epidura to ease pain.

      Comparing birthing in the USA and Cameroon my country, I realizes that they have certain things in common and some disparities. For instance, both experienced child labor, delivery and natural birth, but contrarily, in Cameroon, natural birth is the only means of delivery. C – section is used only in complicated cases but in the US, C-section is an option as some people may not want to go through the pain of child labor. Also both countries under go prenatal care and classes but in the US, women have their private doctors and every thing is between the while in Cameroon, prenatal classes, appointments etc is done in groups and open just like in a classroom setting. Women in Cameroon see doctors privately at first visit and those that see doctors at regular basis are those whose cases are complicated and might likely go through a c-section. They work with professional nurses and mid wives but that is not the case in the US.  More over, in Cameroon, Child labor and pain is normal but in the US, epidura is used to ease labor pain. further more, after child birth, the mother is not allowed to work or do any thing till when the belly button falls off and too at the same time the baby is to remain indoors where as in the USA, mothers are  encouraged to move around even with their babies and carry out their daily activities.

      The additional insight here is the importance of getting a good medical follow up at pregnancy. I believe that with that being put in place many issues and problems that could create an adverse impact on the development of the child will be taken care of and such impacts will be avoided. I also have an insight of what i can use to ease labor pain which is important especially to women who spend hours in labor.

Posted by Dor, V.  ( 2012. July).

Oral questioning to McCrary, F.  ( 2012. July).