Officials of the Ministry of Public Health say over 35,000 health care practitioners are needed in Cameroon to meet up with the WHO’s recommended 1 doctor per 10,000 persons ratio.
Cameroon’s doctor-patient ratio is 1 doctor per 50, 000 persons .
Officials say the inadequate number of health personnel needs to be increased in order to improve health care services provided to patients.
There are about 48,000 health care professionals in Cameroon. Out of this figure, 2000 are medical practitioners, and 700 specialists.
Most of these specialists are found in Referral, District and Central hospitals. But that will soon change, because the government has plans to construct Referral, District , and Central hospitals in all regions .
A call for better working conditions
Better working conditions remains a salient concern for health care professionals of the public and privâtes sectors in Cameroon.
Although President Biya’s recent extension of the retirement age of health care practitioners in Cameroon was extended, Mr. Sylvain Nga Onana, President of CAP health syndicate says there are still more problems to be addressed regarding the issue of working conditions .
” Working conditions reflect the image of Cameroon. Health care professionals lack modern equipment, and remuneration is also low. The government recently told us that the health sector is run based on funds available. We are also coping with the available resources, and expecting things to get better.
The president regrets that the working conditions account for high levels of brain drain in the health sector.
” A good number of Cameroonian doctors have been forced to travel abroad for greener pastures. They argue that working conditions are not the best. Most of them travel to European countries, the USA, Asia or even some African countries like Côte d’Ivoire or Senegal where they are well paid. Health personnel who are still in Cameroon do not have something better, otherwise, they will have also picked up jobs in other countries where they will be well paid”.
Many health professionals Cconsidee President Paul Biya’s decision to extent retirement ages in the health sector a sign that more reforms are yet to come .
Kathy Neba Sina