26 August 2009

Cameroon: AH1N1 Flu - Gov't on the Alert

In a press conference yesterday, the government presented stringent measures against the flu.

There is current fear worldwide with the 2009 AH1N1 influenza pandemic. As various countries and international bodies intensify measures to curb the flu, Cameroon is not left out in the fight. In a press conference yesterday in Yaounde, the Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda said the government has taken stringent measures to reinforce health structures and personnel to better grapple with all the ramifications of the virus. Minister André Mama Fouda called on Cameroonians to be calm for there is no reason to be scared because the 2009 AH1N1 flu is under control. In the presence of the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary and a battery of medical doctors, André Mama Fouda briefed national and international pressmen on the situation of the influenza A virus subtype H1N1, as well as what is being done to pre-empt the spread of the virus and the scandalous road-side sale of the Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, which is meant to be free to all HIV patients in Cameroon.

Going down history, Minister André Mama said since the crack of dawn of the 2009 AH1N1 virus, some 182,200 cases worldwide have been notified amongst which, 1800 deaths recorded. Since August 11 some 1469 cases of AH1N1 have been recorded in Africa with three deaths. Statistics indicate that since last Sunday August 23, the number has increased to 3843 cases in the continent with total deaths of 11 people. The minister said within 12 days, some 2374 new cases of the 2009 AH1N1 virus were recorded in Africa. For the four cases of AH1N1 registered in Cameroon, the health boss said there is no room for panic as the patients are out of danger. Measures are being taken to curb the spread of the virus which is contagious and spreads from human to human.

The State has taken actions to make sure that health structures are prepared to tackle the AH1N1 virus. Health structures apt to handle cases of the virus are the Yaounde Central Hospital, the Douala Laquintinie Hospital, as well as the Garoua, Maroua and the Limbe Regional Hospitals. Epidemiological surveillance of the virus in land boarders, airports and seaports has been reinforced. This is to check travelers coming into the country who might be carriers of the virus. Personal protective materials have also been given to health personnel as well as those who could be at risk. 1500 communication banners in both official languages to educate the population on how to curb the virus were handed to the Ministry of Transport to be pasted in various entrance ways into Cameroon. Emergency medical personnel have been trained to handle cases of AH1N1 flu.

As concerns ARV, the government is to continue respecting its commitment to provide the drugs free of charge to eligible persons living with HIV/AIDS in spite of the growing number of patients.

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