News / Africa

Cameroon Cracks Down on Illegal Hospitals

FILE - Marie-Madelaine Avouzoa, whose legs were amputated at the knees and lost her fingertips after a blood transfusion for malaria infected her limbs, sits in a wheelchair at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde on March 16, 2009.
FILE - Marie-Madelaine Avouzoa, whose legs were amputated at the knees and lost her fingertips after a blood transfusion for malaria infected her limbs, sits in a wheelchair at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde on March 16, 2009.
— Cameroon has started a crackdown on medical institutions, including Chinese traditional medical practitioners, who are practicing illegally in the country. The health ministry says thousands of hospitals operating without authorization are responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of patients.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mirabel Ndi watches helplessly as her two-month-old baby cries in pain. She says that for the entire night, she had been at the private clinic in Yaounde with no medical staff on duty.

“I came to the hospital and there is nobody to help," she said. "Nobody to help.”

Since the government of Cameroon started a crackdown on what it calls illegal hospitals, staff members have gone into hiding. The secretary-general of Cameroon's National Medical Council, Bijoko Atangana says the Council will continue to pursue order in the sector.

He says a person only needs to go and see for oneself the proliferation of hospitals across the country; many of them operating illegally.  He says all doctors working in such places and who are not members of the National Medical Council are practicing illegally.

The government of Cameroon says it has already identified 600 illegal hospitals and health centers.   Andre Mama Fouda is Cameroon's minister of health:

He says the government is targeting hospitals all over Cameroon, and wants to know the legality of their activities and close them down if they are not authorized to function.

There are fears that hospitals that are operating legally have infrastructure problems and may not be able to react effectively to emergencies.

At the Central Hospital in Yaounde,  Dr. Etoundi Albert, one of the officials of the emergency unit, said that the few people on staff are overwhelmed.

He says the hospital is able to handle up to eight emergencies at a time. Non-emergency cases can be handled 20 at once. But he says it is very important that qualified staff is available to treat Cameroonians, and when there is an emergency, the hospital should have the means to react quickly.

Dr. Nick Ngwanyam, who runs the Saint Louis Higher Institute of Health that trains medical staff, says the steps being taken by the government to stop hospitals from operating illegally will save many lives.

“When it comes to medicine, there is no room for mistakes and so the action is welcome. You go to the hospital, there is the doctor who is genuine, then there is a nurse who is called doctor, the laboratory technician doctor, then the nurse aid doctor, and so doctor which use to mean something has become a generic name for somebody in white coat.”

The government also is targeting illegal Chinese medical practitioners. Some Cameroonians, like Daniel Kum, suggest that the government should organize the practice of Chinese medicine in Cameroon instead of stopping it.

 “After moving from one hospital to the other, I did not have drugs that could help me. But when I took the Chinese medication, especially what they call the One Bao, and it helped me and I was happy.”

The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide 200,000 deaths per year could be prevented if people did not use counterfeit drugs mostly supplied in illegally run hospitals. According to the London-based International Policy Network, counterfeit tuberculosis and malaria drugs are are estimated to kill 700,000 people globally each year

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peter Chang from: Taipei, TAIWAN
January 06, 2014 6:47 PM
There are many issues hehind these illegal unrecognized unauthorized institutions, and they should be analyzed and discussed.


by: Mifune from: Japan
January 03, 2014 6:09 PM
I'm very sorry to read this. However, you were supposed to quickly learn almost all products made in China are cheap, but bad-copies or just fakes. That is the big headache in Asia as well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid