Covid19: 2 years after shut down, Azam hotel ironically revived by Covid19

Amid the armed conflict in the North West Region of Cameroon, the 3-star hotel located in Bamenda closed its doors in 2018 due to insecurity and low revenue. Oddly, the coming of Covid-19 gave the hotel a breather. It once more opened its doors to serve as a quarantine center to over 149 suspected persons of Covid19 in the region.

According to the manager of the establishment, Okah Solomon, the armed conflict has affected the institution more than the health pandemic. « Electricity and water supply were suspended. Clients withdrew holding their events from the hotel. We lost telecommunication services. It is thanks to God that we had the contract to use the hotel as a quarantine center. The center brought us electricity. It revived us for 3 months ». Said Okah Solomon

The hotel hired 7 temporal workers and bought some new materials to meet the needs of the health personnel and patients. Though happy they had some relief from the government through the payment of space used, Azam hotel still has a long way to go to regain its status.

“The government paid per consumption and not per room. So, they did not pay for the whole hotel. The money will help in sorting out some issues. Right now, we are trying to deal with the Anglophone crisis and health pandemic” Okah Solomon notes.

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The ongoing violence resulted in insecurity and low revenue while Covid19 comes with stigma, a situation that has left the hotel at a crossroad.

Since the treatment center at Azam hotel was shut down in September 2020, following a decline in the number of suspected patients (NWR situational report, Sept 2020), few clients who indicated to use the hotel later changed their minds. Customers are afraid of contracting the virus despite the Covid19 measures (wash hand points and hand sanitizers) that were put in place.

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At the moment, health personnel are still to decontaminate the hotel. Only the paths and rooms used for quarantine were decontaminated. A total of 51 rooms were occupied for the exercise.

“We are still waiting on the health personnel to decontaminate the hotel. With the coming of the second wave of Covid19, they might reinstate the quarantine center”. Narrates Okah Solomon

Since the closure of the center, the hotel laid off most of the staff, leaving just the manager and 2 security officers.

This work was carried out with the support of Expertise France and CFI with funding from AFD.

Maikem Emmanuela

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