The government of Cameroon has stressed the need for a better protection of refugees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call was made by the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Public Health in charge of Pandemics and epidemics, Alim Hayatou while visiting the Minawawo refugee camp in the Mayo Tsanaga Division, the Far North Region of Cameroon.
The camp that hosts close to 65 thousand refugees with a risk of propagation of the virus if a case is detected.
Alim Hayatou was thus on ground to see measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Here, hand washing points have been installed all over the camp which is spread over 7 hectares of land, the wearing of face masks is compulsory for all occupants of the camp while an isolation centre has been set up far away from the camp to take care of any suspected case that may arise.
The Secretary of State at the Ministry of Public Health, Alim Hayatou praised the officials at the camp for the measures taken but stressed they need to remain alert and vigilant to any eventuality.
Alim Hayatou’s trip to the Far North Region also took him to the Maroua Regional Hospital to inspect the measures put in place. Here, the two wards have been specially set up to take care of COVID-19 patients. The wards are isolated from the rest of the hospital as authorities at the hospital said it is to avoid any contact between COVID-19 patients and other patients.
At the end of the visit, a working session was held with all the stakeholders in which it was revealed the Far North Region has so far recorded 50 COVID-19 cases with 26 recoveries and three deaths. The Maroua I subdivision leads the chart in the Far North Region with 23 cases followed by Maroua II with 13 cases and Kousseri with 8 cases.
It was an opportunity for the Regional Delegate of Public Health to outline some of the problems faced by the Region notably the lack of laboratories to facilitate testing. The region still relies on the Centre Pasteur laboratory in Garoua for testing, the Regional Delegate said. The issue of stigmatization of COVID-19 patients in the region was equally raised and the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Public Health stressed authorities in the region should intensify campaigns to sensitise the population to respect the population as well as adopt responsible behaviour.
At the end of the visit, symbolic gifts were handed over to administrative and religious authorities as well as traditional rulers.