Covid19: Health sector in need of 10 testing sites in Bamenda
A screening unit

Health facilities in Bamenda are turning into an exchange ground for illnesses, with patient management and Covid19 testing which should not be the case.

The North West Regional Delegate of Public Health, Kinsley Che Soh, says hospitals are not a neutral ground for Covid-19 testing. “It is not good that people go to hospital just for testing. You can pick up an illness from those who are already there and vice versa. We want people to be tested in a neutral ground, not in health facilities. Health facilities are there for patient management, not testing. Positive cases can be referred to health facilities for treatment. This will also help the staff work better”.

The advent of Covid-19 has changed the working environment of many sectors including health care in Cameroon. Misinformation and denial make it worse. In the Santa Health district, the district medical Officer for Santa, Dr Chris Tanue Abongwa, agrees it has definitely changed how his staff operates.

It is true that just as being part of the community, some health personnel think Covid-19 has been politicized. But the intrinsic fear drives them to apply caution in the way they attend to patients. As far as their working condition is concerned, the state now gives mask periodically to all the health staff to enforce barrier measures”.

Despite the lack of sufficient staff, the district still manages to fight against the deadly virus.

No new staff has been sent for the purpose of fighting Covid-19. We are all health staff. Some of us have received specific training on the fight against Covid-19 in our various domains; IPC, investigation, contact tracing, management of cases, psychosocial support, communication and we are doing all we can to succeed in this fight. So, we have reassigned staff within the district and capacitate them into various functions”. Explained Dr Chris Abongwa

To Dr Nestor Bihle, district officer of Kumbo East, when cases are diagnosed especially for the first time, it’s not always easy on the staff. Some are stressed up maybe because they never respected all the barrier measures with clients before the test was conducted.

At times some threatened to resign because they think they are risking themselves and their families. So we usually spend much time handling them psychologically. The fear, the uncertainty, the workload, the misinformation and the lack of motivation can name the rest. We lost 2 medical personnel in Santa to Covid19”.

The health pandemic took us by surprise and those who had to embark on treating patients were later diagnosed positive. That was very demotivating to them and their colleagues. Thanks to our partners, we were able to improve the working conditions of more than 200 health personnel through trainings on control measures. Over the last weeks, we haven’t recorded many health personnel who are sick”. Said Dr Kinsley Che Soh

The number of health personnel infected by the virus in the region stands at 161 with 90% recovery and 10% on treatment. Approximately, 347 health facilities are engaged in the fight against Covid19 with 24 operating as a treatment center in the North West Region.

Bamenda is known to be the epic center of the North West Region, due to the fact that it has the highest Covid19 cases in the region, amidst the second wave in Cameroon.  As of this report, the region has recorded over 116 positive cases and five deaths in just 10 days.

By Maikem Emmanuela Manzie

Work carried out as part of the “Data and Check Covid-19” project with the support of AFD, Expertise France and CFI as part of PAGO

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