Cameroon health workers appeal for help after being attacked by Covid-19 carriers
Cape Town - Medical staff in Cameroon are asking for additional security at hospitals following a series of attacks by people upset that they or their loved ones were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Cameroon so far has 3 300 confirmed cases of the virus with 147 deaths.
According to the Voice of America (VOA), Gervais Gabriel Atedjoe, the secretary general of Cameroon’s national medical council, said attacks on hospitals, especially healthcare workers, were increasing by the day.
Atedjoe said the council had asked the government to increase protection at hospitals, with doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians attacked on a daily basis in the last three weeks.
The council reported attacks in seven hospitals since Thursday. Six workers were being treated after being badly injured, while eight others sustained minor injuries.
In the most extreme attacks, doctors said last week angry crowds exhumed the bodies of four people who died of Covid-19 in the cities of Douala and Bafoussam, insisting they wanted to give them proper burials.
The governor of Cameroon’s western region Awah Fonka said health workers who tried to stop the exhumations were assaulted.
Fonka told the VOA that the health workers were saved by police who arrived and dispersed the mobs. Police and the workers then reclaimed and reburied the bodies.
"It is unbelievable, unacceptable that a medical doctor or medical personnel should be putting up a fight over a corpse with a family," Fonka said.
"They (crowds) should understand that these people are coming to help so that they should not be infected."
Cameroon’s health minister Manaouda Malachie has condemned the attacks and called on all residents to accept that Covid-19 is real and killing people.
Speaking on Cameroon state radio CRTV, he said measures have been taken to increase security at hospitals.
He said President Paul Biya had asked him to reassure all health workers that he was aware of the challenges they faced and the government would take the necessary measures to protect them.
African News Agency (ANA)