Some 20 kidney patients out of over 60 patients undergoing periodic dialysis at the Bamenda Hemodialysis Centre have reminded the office of the Northwest Governor that they do not want to die early.

The despondent patients made their position known on Wednesday, October 12, during an emergency visit to the
Governor’s office. Among other issues raised, the obsolete nature of machines, complete breakdown, epileptic supply
of electricity, lack of a standby generator and a stabilizer featured prominently as factors eminent in grounding the Hemodialysis centre, catering to over 60 patients with kidney failures from the West and the Northwest Regions.
According to Nkosu Ephraim, President of kidney patients at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, “the centre closed down on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, following the complete breakdown of the Osmiliser machine that purifies water sent to the dialyzing machines.We were told the motor of the machine got burnt. This motor has been repaired several times. It is getting to the tenth time it is being repaired. We are aware it could continue and that is why we have come in person to ask the Governor through his Secretary General to tell the Minister to completely replace the machines.
“The SG says the machines are already in Bamenda but not yet installed.  The Director says the centre needs renovation. We don’t want to die soon. We shall embark on a strike action if the situation is not addressed and redressed. Each time there is a breakdown we lose members. If you miss dialyses for one week, you will die, “Ephraim lamented.

According to Lawrence Achah Mbah from Batibo, kidney patient, they should be saved from death fast. “I am not breathing well. Last week we were forced to dialyses only of few machines. I have been sick of kidney problem for two years. At times, I have to evacuate myself to Ebolowa for dialyses. We need help.”

The current ailing machines at the Bamenda Regional Hemodialyses centre were installed way back in 2009 and were due complete replacement in five years. Hitherto, it has been repair works time and time again. In November,
2014, Cameroon lost 20 souls in three months, following a breakdown of the machines. Even with eventual installation or repair of the machines, it will not be a moment to smile for the patients as there exists no standby generator to power the center in the event of power failure, a stabilizer to control power flw and constant supply of water to the centre a major ingredient for dialyses. Dissenting voices on the streets of Bamenda have wondered aloud, why the Government thrives on patch work in practically every facet of life.

Shocking nonchalance in health sector

It has always been said that health is wealth, and if it is, why is it not given the attention and nobility it deserves? It is disheartening to see a solemn issue like health handled the way it is done in Cameroon. As a matter of fact, every riffraff who can rattle the names of certain drugs has the laxity to consult and administer drugs. At present, it is not surprising to see ‘Doctors’ in neighbourhoods and even roadsides selling or hawking ‘drugs’. Is it not mind-boggling that a country like ours which is believed to have a high literacy level amongst other African countries, still experiences these types of practices?

The irony is that in spite efforts by the Ministry of Public Health to sensitize the population, many still rush to such ramshackle ‘pharmacies’ for treatment. But then, why won’t they when cries keep on augmenting about poor treatment of patients in most public hospitals. It has reached the point where even what the Government puts in place to help the poor masses, is improperly run and mishandled. A student of the University of Buea, UB who elected anonymity told The Rambler that, “I could not believe my ears when I overheard a nurse at the UB health unit telling a girl who came in with serious malaria that she will give her drugs before her lab results came out but, warned that shouldn’t let any other nurse know about it. After closing the door to ensure no one was looking she pulled out the packet of drugs from her jacket and handed to the girl. After administering an injection on
her, she told the girl that when she goes to the pharmacy to buy the prescribed drugs for her lab results, she should tell the woman she had already bought them on her way to the hospital. She then told the girl that the drugs cost FCFA 7000. But after a serious bargain, she said the least she would settle for was FCFA 5500 which the girl paid. I was astonished because for the fist time I witnessed a serious bargain over the price of drugs’’.

Lydia Ekema, recently delivered a baby at the Buea Regional Hospital, shared that she was well treated; however, some nurses were very mean to her thus inducing her to appeal that such nurses be identified and sanctioned.
Clinical Pathologist, Dr. Mouladje Maurice in the same hospital, opined that the negative notion that people have about Government hospitals is wrong. He furthered that, ‘’like here, for instance, we attend to emergency cases fist before payment, we ensure that these patients don’t lose their lives fist then money could come later. However, most of these people when they get well, escape at night without paying their bills’’. He affirmed that otherwise, patients who come to the hospital only see the doctor after paying FCFA 600 for consultation before they can go for their
lab test. He emphasized that “people also have to understand that so many patients come to the hospital daily, in fact, we have 200 lab cases a day which also have to pass through different specialists. It is therefore clear that these results cannot come out as fast as the patients would want’’. In response to why patients often resort to pharmacies out of the hospital in search of drugs which of course are prescribed by the hospital, he said that the hospital pharmacy is furnished as a function of found therein. However, the question is why is

However, the question is why is the hospital’s pharmacy almost void of drugs? Besides, what measures are put in
place to handle corruption cases or improper treatment of patients in the hospital? To the above question, the Bureau Head for Hygiene/Sanitation for Southwest, Madam Takah Racheal explained that anti-corruption committees exist in hospitals to handle any form of corruption or maltreatment of patients. She added that there is a number available through which patients can reach this committee. However, she told The Rambler that she was not
in the best position to comment further on the subject and directed us to the Regional Delegate for Public Health. Attempts to see him proved futile as his secretary even without clearance declared that it was not correct to interview the Delegate and instead advised that journalists form an association before they can be granted needed access to him.

This only adds to the list of issues people face in Cameroon daily, but then what does the future holds for the health sector in Cameroon? A sector that is run by people who only passed entrance exams for training even when they have no foundation in the Sciences; a sector which gets speedy and serious attention only when Monic Kumateke dies in Lanquintini hospital; yes, where anti-corruption committees exist, yet, effective sensitization is not done to educate the public should they face ugly situation. It is therefore not wrong to assert that the health sector is only a reflection of the ugly state of affairs in the country. And health is not wealth that it ought to as proposed by the popular saying ‘Health is Wealth.’

2 children killed in Limbe house fire

Two little girls aged 2 and 7 were burnt to death in a fire outbreak that reduced their Coconut Island home to cinders on Wednesday night, October 8. Eyewitness reports say the blaze was triggered by a power surge which followed one in a series of blackouts that evening. The children were at home on their own as their mother, a bar attendant at Las
Vegas drinking spot, was at work. Their father had just stepped out to buy a candle from a neighboring provision store when, behind him, his apartment, built of magnolia wood (caraboard) burst into flames. Neighbours immediately rallied to help but were all overpowered by the blaze and in a matter of minutes only white ash and scrap metal sheeting lay on the ground where the house had stood. e children’s uncle,

The children’s uncle, Tafor Edwin, spoke to the Rambler, blaming the incident on frequent power outages in Limbe. “It was past midnight and the light was going on and off. My younger brother’s wife was at work and the children were sleeping. Then neighbours woke me up announcing a fire outbreak. When I came out the fie had completely
engulfed my brother’s one-bedroom apartment. I rushed back to my apartment, disconnected my TV and fridge and took them out to safety. When I returned to try and save other items, the fie caught me (he showed fist degree burns).

My next-door neighbor is deaf and dumb, and his door had to be broken for him to be saved. It is when the flames abated that we found the charred remains of the children. We buried them at the New Town Cemetery the next day”, Tafor said, concluding that the incident was caused by ENEO’s repeated power failures that night.