By Eric Tataw– Washington DC, USA, Wednesday, November 27, 2019.
Healthcare workers in the Central African country of Cameroon say the authorities have pauperized them to the point that they cannot even buy proper medication for their children. There is, therefore, an urgent need to give a human face to healthcare in Cameroon, they say.
In a post of May 18, 2017, published on the website of French-language newspaper, L’Oeil du Sahel, an anonymous Cameroonian medical doctor raised the alarm over their deplorable working conditions – compared to colleagues in the Central African sub-region.
“Because of such injustice and putting at risk the lives of thousands of innocent people, we have to denounce these abuses by enumerating the plight of Cameroonian medical doctors,” the post read.
Entitled “Cameroon: The shameful situation faced by medical doctors,” the author, a medical doctor with four years of experience then, lamented the state of medical practice in Cameroon.
For example, a doctor earns about 225,000 FCFA as basic salary. In nearby Gabon, the amount is more than double. While next door Chad, a poorer country compared to Cameroon, a medical doctor’s pay is even higher than that in Gabon.
On the other hand, promotion is slow. In the end, after 7 years of studies to qualify as a General Practitioner, and further years to specialize, the Cameroonian medical doctor has nothing to show and is virtually a beggar, the author says. In addition to poor pay, working conditions for medical doctors are nothing to write home about.
As a result, there is high mortality in health facilities across the nation because of the expensive cost of healthcare, lack of medication, and poor or non-existent equipment.
“At times the patient lacks a few thousand francs to be treated. And we cannot help either because we only eke out a living,” wrote the anonymous doctor. “How do I help to pay for a patient’s treatment when I don’t have taxi fare myself!” exclaimed the medic.
“I am unable to buy good medication for my daughter. Often, I rely on drugs given as advertising samples by pharmaceutical companies,” the author added.
It is against this somber background that the Syndicate of Cameroon Medical Doctors, SCMD, holds its general assembly on Saturday, November 30, 2019.
The theme is “Humanisation of Healthcare Services: Contributions of Healthcare Authorities, Health Workers and Patients.” The venue of the gathering is the Nlongkak, Yaounde headquarters of the Cameroon Medical Council. During the assembly, elections will be conducted for a new executive.
The pressure is already mounting on the government to do everything within its power to improve upon working and other conditions of healthcare personnel.