Wisdom sometimes teaches that most assimilated and life-impacting lessons are learnt during rough moments, or better still; through the hard way. This is more so as the experience of such challenging periods or what caused the learner to get the lesson almost always reminds him/her each time such moments crop up again in life. And the experience, which is said to be the best teacher; is no doubt one of the things the world would be left with hopefully when the battle against Covid-19 would have been won. A real turning point in the running of society!
As Cameroon gnashes its teeth from the consequences of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, at least one thing is clear: That the country's health system would not be the same again. The trials and temptations of today could serve as stepping stones to the successes of tomorrow. In his address to the nation on May 19, 2020, President Paul Biya advocates changes in the country's health system. He believes the challenges posed by the new pandemic require an imperative upgrading of the country's health system for the short, medium and long terms.
"It requires that we continue to strengthen our health facilities, scale up our healthcare services and, above all, update some of our development projects and programmes," he said. Understandably so as the virus has proven to be a respecter of no one; not even the rich and developed societies whose health systems had hitherto been envied by nearly all. Modernising the local health structures, equipment and service delivery are therefore more than necessary.
The attention given the health system at moment should thus be insightful and forward-looking such that the country can boost of a health scheme capable of standing any challenge. Even if it doesn't necessarily require building new hospitals, stakeholders should consider beefing up existing ones across the country with state-of-the-art equipment. In fact, the technical platforms of the country's hospitals need modernisation across the board.
Besides buying consumables that medics and patients of the disease need, government should think deep about sustainability. In fact, all that is needed to give the population efficient healthcare coverage both at emergency and normal periods. For, a good health system is that which is capable of detecting and immediately handling any ailment or referring it to a reliable nearby structure. Depending on the outside world for healthcare provision can be misleading given that once there is any hitch, precious lives would be lost to careless illnesses that would have otherwise been handled with celerity. Health, we all know, is wealth!
Hopes are therefore high that with what the country is going through, all will be done to ensure that the oxygen and blood banks; for example, are fully equipped likewise other life-saving platforms in the country's health structures. If after covid-19, recurrent complaints of lack of oxygen, blood or this or that medical equipment resurface, then the country would have missed a golden opportunity to sit up. Inasmuch as the structures and equipment need a facelift, practitioners must as well be made to polish up their sometimes wanting patient-treatment attitudes. This too is modernity and cannot afford to pass anyone by.
This is the time to give local hospitals the status that have attracted some fortunate Cameroonians abroad in the controversial but selective and costly medical evacuations. If Cameroon's health system is modernised to a point of handling those complicated ailments, it would have solved a great deal of problems and spared the sometimes poor and unpopular compatriots who may not have the means or name to be evacuated.
The least of things to do wouldn't be working deeply with growing local initiatives in terms of treatment. Many have shown proof of ingenuity in medicinal plants. Countries that have shown resilience in the pandemic and whose health systems are ranked among the best do incorporate modern and traditional medicines. Taking what has proven efficient, institutionalising them and giving their authors patent rights would be a good step in the right direction. And sharpening the health system for posterity is guaranteeing the future for all.