Cameroon: Deserved Homage

The scare of the new Coronavirus pandemic across the globe has been profound, especially within medical personnel who have been in the frontline of the sudden outbreak. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the Developed World where highest number of cases were recorded. Africa is still witnessing a growing number of infections by the deadly virus that has made people to live in real fear as those working in hospitals face the disease head on.

Since the announcement of the first case in Cameroon on 5 March 2020 and the subsequent decision by the Prime Minister, Head of Government to inform the entire country about preventive and safety measures which the population must apply, the virus has continued to affect several persons. It has now spread throughout the whole country and health staff have fought hard to stem the tide. On several occasions during the daily briefing by Health Minister and his collaborators as well as the Prime Minister during his weekly evaluation, the contribution of the health workers has been singled out for praise. Some of them have even lost their lives in the process while others have either been subject to stigmatisation or outright attacks from irate population who cannot understand the death of their loved ones either due to the virus or otherwise at this times.

Faced with such a virulent virus and a jittery and confused population, the challenge in hospitals has even gone beyond healthcare provision to include guidance and counselling. Keeping morale high so as to tackle the negative health psyche amongst the population and the effective treatment of patients and asymptomatic cases, has proven to be an uphill task. Conscious of the difficulties, President Paul Biya through the Prime Minister and the Government extended words of encouragement to the healthcare providers on several occasions.

But since he took advantage of the absence of festivities to mark the 48th National Day in Cameroon this year to address the Nation on the eve of the event, that is on 19 May 2020, it was understandable that he should pay a special homage to the health workers. Thus, he said; "I also wish to hail the courage of Cameroonian health professionals and those assisting them. With the resources available to us, they are doing the utmost to treat those infected with the disease. Indeed, they are not giving up in the face of the gravity of COVID-19 infection. The Nation, through me, congratulates and urges them to keep it up." The statement actually went beyond encouragement to include an appraisal of the health facilities.

Some have even predicted doom for most African countries as the disease keeps spreading like wild fire, especially in Western countries. The claims have been predicated on the chronic lack of health infrastructure in most African countries. But everything being equal, such conclusions will end up being more out of fear than a reflection of the true picture hanks to the medical solutions provided by those in the sector. Statistics indicate that by May 20, the number of persons infected in the country stood at 3;529 with 140 deaths and 1,595 recovered. The figures partly testify to the level of commitment by those working in the various health structures in the country and the effective services that they provide to patients. This must have explained why the Head of State gave them special thumbs up for the efforts they are deploying in spite of the multifaceted difficulties.

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