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Patients suffer as doctors go on strike again

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The standoff between the government of Cameroon and striking doctors has left many patients helpless.

Cameroon doctors under a union known as SYMEC have been on strike since Monday 15 May pressing government for better working conditions and pay.  The strike set to continue until 17 May, will be the second time doctors are taking part in such an action in Cameroon this year. The first action occurred in April, with reports of many patients left in critical state in major hospitals in Yaounde.

While visiting some public hospitals in yaounde yesterday, this reporter discovered patients who were left stranded with no medical doctors to attend to them. Reports from regions equally opined that there were cases of preventable loss of lives taking place in most heath institutions

The country’s health sector has been grappling with a myriad of problems, including having to contend with low drug supply and inadequate doctors. Some striking doctors who talked to this reporter say they have been stretched thin and won’t continue working when they can’t afford basic needs. The doctors who prefer anonymity for fear of victimisation, say public health authorities have engaged in fighting doctors instead of solving their problems.

Cameroon’s doctors’ union officials yesterday accused the governments of failing to honour a return-to-work formula that ended their last action.

For their part, the government had deemed the previous strike as illegal stating that SYMEC is not a legally recognised union, something the union denies.

Government authorities are also said to have banned SYMEC’s president, Pierre Yves Bassong from taking part in TV programmes.

For now it is not clear how the stalemate will end, but many Cameroonians hope it will be anytime soon given the adverse effects that come when medical staff downed their tools.

The country’s Common Law Lawyers and teachers have also been on a strike action giving a double blow to Biya’s government.




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