COVID-19 : ‘ We must build together a modern health system ‘

Cameroon’s Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie has said building a modern health system that guarantees universal health coverage is a must.

He issued the statement on June 23, 2020 in a congratulatory lettter adressed to health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Manaouda Malachie pays a working visit to the Jamot hospital treatment centre in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, 

For over 100 days, since the first cases were confirmed in Cameroon, health workers have relentless fought to contain the spread the virus and preserve human lives.

A health personnel performs a nose swab on  a person seeking to be tested for the Coronavirus at the courtyard of the screening centre at Yaoundé’s Multipurpose Sports Complex

Unfortunately, 313 persons have lost their lives to the virus , 12592 confirmed cases and 10100 recoveries have been reported.

According to the Public Health boss, the recovery rate is well over 70% , alongside a “progressive control of the spread of the disease”.

Dr. Lucien Mama, head of the Cité Verte Health District,  educates the public on COVID-19 prevention measures with the help of a megaphone

He attributes this success in preserving data on the evolution of the disease in Cameroon to the skilled health workers.

” The handiwork and incident management team and your respective expertise helped us to consolidate the statistics that could have been fatal for our health system. This is eloquent proof that our scientists and health professionals are of high quality and deserve to be highly commended”.

Dr. Manaouda Malachie also salutes the resilience of the health workers amidst diverse challenges.

” I will like to hail the extreme courage of the Cameroonian medical corp and those assisting them. With our means, they do their utmost to treat infected people . Indeed , they do not give up faced with the seriousness of the COVID-19 infection. Through my voice, the nation congratulates them to persevere on this path”.

Lab technicians in a  makeshift laboratory at the COVID-19 screening centre at the courtyard of Yaoundé’s Multipurpose Sports Complex

The Minister’s congratulations comes slightly over a month after President Paul Biya commended the health workers during his address to the nation on the eve of Cameroon’s National Day, on May 19.

The cost of saving lives

Saving lives and containing the spread of the Coronavirus in Cameroon was not without a cost for the health workers.

Over 300 health workers have been infected and 5 others lost their lives. Amidst the challenges, they are however optimistic that they will effectively keep the virus at bay without being infected.

During the global health crisis, some health workers have particularly suffered brutality and harassment from angry family members who lost their loved ones to the disease.

Most of these families complained that the health workers in question were unprofessional, and did not provide proper health care to their relatives.

Dr Manaouda Malachie acknowledges that not all health personnel were at their best. Accordingly, he says  valuable lessons learnt will facilitate the improvement of the health system as well as protection of health workers.

He also tells the health workers to sustain the fight against the deadly disease, until it is completely eradicated .

Kathy Neba Sina 

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