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Cameroon: Victims of Boko Haram Insurgency Overwhelm Hospitals

In Garoua, Cameroon, one of two nurses at the regional hospital explaining incidence of malnutrition (VOA/D.Ntaryike)

Cameroon said raids on Boko Haram strongholds along the country's northern border with Nigeria are taking a huge toll, with hospitals in the area overwhelmed by victims wounded during insurgency efforts, officials said.

Regional forces from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin have been launching raids on the militants since last December.
The troops' raids, as well as suicide bombings and landmines used by the insurgents have increased the number of victims.

The hospitals are suffering acute shortages of staff, medical equipment and infrastructure.

Hannah Lechantre, a French-born volunteer with the Cameroon medical council, said the Mora district hospital, with a capacity of 50 beds, now has 350 victims from Cameroon and Nigeria.

'Very worrying'

"Actually, their health status and their mental status is very worrying. All these people, families, women, children have been hiding so long in the bush, eating nothing and drinking dirty water, so they arrive in Cameroon in very very bad situation in terms of health," Lechantre said.

Cameroon Health Minister Andre Mama Fouda said five hospitals, with a capacity of about 350, on the border with Nigeria are overcrowded with more than 1,700 victims being taken care of by about 400 staff members.

Fouda said the hospitals lack equipment and infrastructure to cope with the growing numbers and the hospitals are running short of supplies despite international efforts to assist.

Cameroon said more than 1,500 victims of Boko Haram atrocities died in hospitals on its northern border with Nigeria between January 2015 and March of this year.