Cameroon’s health minister says he was threatened after banning skin whitening products

Cameroon RFIGuillaume Thibault
AUG 20, 2022 LISTEN
RFI/Guillaume Thibault

Cameroon's Minister of Public Health said in an interview this week with a local television channel that he had received threats after banning skin bleaching products.

Minister Manaouda Malachie banned the sale of skin bleaching products from five companies on 10 August.

"You can't imagine the number of phone calls and threats I've received since these press releases came out," he says.

“People come to do business in an area that doesn't need it,” he says.

Skin bleaching products are popular across the African continent as beauty standards often seen in the media or in advertising have pushed the narrative that a lighter skin tone is better or more acceptable.

Malachie says he is not against the companies making money, but their products must not cause harm.

“It is not forbidden to make money, but we must make money with public health in mind as the objective.”

“These products are not harmful, they are beauty drinks. Today, we have 124 samples of these products which are in Cameroonian laboratories. In a few days the Cameroonian laboratories will decide,” according to her office.

Fotsing is the owner of beauty company Nourishka.

Currently there are more than five companies on the Cameroon market selling skin whitening products.