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Health Geography: From Past to Present

H. Blaise Nguendo-Yongsi

Published: 2021/09/01

Abstract

Geography is fast undergoing changes in its research methods, scope, and techniques of analysis. More and more areas of inquiry hitherto thought to be the exclusive reserves of well-established disciplines such as economics, sociology, demography, and health are now conveniently subjected to geographical studies. Moreover, geographers are increasingly recognized for their capabilities in the interpretation and/or study of “spaces of development”. Geographical studies of health are not new, but they have become more authoritative with the adoption of new concepts and rigorous techniques. Internationally and nationally, health geography has gained respect as it is now taught in many universities worldwide. True to the philosophy of the wider discipline, this paper recounts the development of health geography and shows its current trends. In recent years, it has become clear that clinical medicine alone cannot bring the desired improvements in the lives of people without due consideration of the social, economic and political environments affecting health. This paper also presents a case study of environmental sanitation and infectious diarrheas to highlight the current approach in health geography. This case study is about the provision — or lack thereof — of infrastructures related to the management of household refuses in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon. Keywords: Health geography, Health social determinants, Risk factors, Spatial disparities, Yaoundé, Cameroon, Diarrheal diseases, Solid waste

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