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Epidemiological data on musculoskeletal conditions such as degenerative joint diseases and bone fractures are lacking in low- and middle-income countries. This survey aimed to estimate the prevalence and causes of musculoskeletal impairment in Fundong Health District, North-West Cameroon.Fifty-one clusters of 80 people (all ages) were selected using probability proportionate to size sampling. Households within clusters were selected by compact segment sampling. Six screening questions were asked to identify participants likely to have a musculoskeletal impairment (MSI). Participants screening positive to any screening question underwent a standardised examination by a physiotherapist to assess presence, cause, diagnosis and severity of impairment.In total, 3567 of 4080 individuals enumerated for the survey were screened (87%). The all-age prevalence of MSI was 11.6% (95% CI: 10.1-13.3). Prevalence increased with age, from 2.9% in children to 41.2% in adults 50 years and above. The majority of MSI cases (70.4%) were classified as mild, 27.2% as moderate and 2.4% as severe. Acquired non-trauma comprised 67% of the diagnoses. The remainder included trauma (14%), neurological (11%), infection (5%) and congenital (3%). The most common individual diagnosis was degenerative joint disease (43%). Over one-third (38%) of individuals with MSI had never received medical care or rehabilitation for their condition.This survey contributes to the epidemiological data on MSI in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly half of adults aged over 50 years had an MSI. There is a need to address the treatment and rehabilitative service gap for people with MSI in Cameroon.

Original publication




Journal article


Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH

Publication Date





1385 - 1393


International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Humans, Infection, Musculoskeletal Diseases, Joint Diseases, Nervous System Diseases, Wounds and Injuries, Prevalence, Developing Countries, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Delivery of Health Care, Cameroon, Female, Male, Young Adult, Surveys and Questionnaires