Cameroon: "Patients Need At Least 28 Days to Fully Recover"


Dr Georges Alain Etoundi Mballa, Director of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health.

How long should be the recovery period for patients with the Coronavirus disease?

When tested positive for Covid-19, whether you are asymptomatic or presenting symptoms, the individual has to spend 14 days of self isolation. This period of isolation could be in a hospital or an isolation home of the patients' choice. During this period, the patient undergoes treatment depending on the protocol prescribed by the medical doctor in charge. Mild cases typically recover within two weeks, while those with severe or critical diseases may take three to six weeks to recover. After 14 days of treatment, the patient undergoes another Covid-19 test to know his/her status. If the control Covid-19 test is negative, the patient will have to observe at least another 14 days of isolation before gaining liberty to carryout his/her daily activities. Obtaining a negative test does not mean the patient is free to fully interact in the society. The patient still needs to undertake another 14 days of self isolation. But this time around he/she can wear a face mask while interacting with people. In total, most Covid-19 patients will need at least 28 days to fully recover.

After a negative control test for Covid-19, does the individual still need to do any Covid-19 test before resuming duty at his/her jobsite?

After 14 days of a negative Covid-19 test, the individual does not need to carry out another test before starting work. A third Covid-19 test is not needed. What that individual needs is a medical certificate from the company doctor to begin work. A third Covid-19 test should not be a prerequisite for the issuing of a medical certificate. The medical certificate is to show that after a positive Covid-19 test; the patient undertook treatment within 14 days and observed another 14 days of isolation after a control negative Covid-19 test. Carrying out a third Covid-19 test to proof that an individual is apt to start work is not necessary especially to patients who are asymptomatic. Company medical doctors need to continuously keep in touch with the team managing the Covid-19 pandemic at the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre in Yaounde to be informed on the right decision to take in handling post Covid-19 patients.

Which Covid-19 patients need to be hospitalised?

Most people (about 80 per cent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment, and for the majority-especially for children and young adults, illness due to Covid-19 is generally minor. However, for some people it can cause serious illness. Around one in every five people who are infected with Covid-19 develops difficulty in breathing and requires hospital care. People who are aged over 60 years and people who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or hypertension are among those who are at greater risk.

Should people be obliged to carry out a Covid-19 test?

This is not acceptable. People are encouraged to carry out the Covid-19 test; but not obliged to do so. Undertaking a Covid-19 test should be motivated by the fact that the individual is asymptomatic or have been in contact with a Covid-19 positive. A systematic test for Covid-19 is not important. The Covid-19 pandemic will not be leaving us any time soon. Someone can be tested negative for Covid-19 now and in the next minute is infected by the virus. The ideal measure to prevent Covid-19 is for everybody to mobilise and ensure strict observance of the regularly stated rules of hygiene, which are structured around the washing of hands with clean running water and soap or use an alcohol-based solution; covering the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing or using a bent elbow; wearing face mask in public, maintaining social distancing of at least 1.5 metres and above all, stay at home as much as possible.

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