French Cameroun: State cracks down on medical doctors 1

André Mama Fouda, the Francophone Minister of Public Health, has decided to send a neurologist and a neurosurgeon to a health center, which is devoid of any equipment, and is housed in small locality of barely 500 inhabitants, whereas these specialists are rare in the large cities hosting several millions of people.

In a typical Francophone style of governance, these young doctors, some of whom are teachers and researchers, will no longer be able to pursue their research or offer courses to their students. The only crime committed by these doctors particularly, Dr. Bassong is that he is the leader of the Cameroon Medical Union (Symec), which has called for a strike action to fix the country’s public health system.

Cameroon Concord News gathered that for three months, Cameroonian doctors have observed three days of strike, widely followed, by all medics throughout the national territory.  The doctors are calling  for the introduction of universal health coverage in order to improve the supply of care and to ensure equal access to care for all Cameroonians from all walks of life.

SYMEC inter alia is also calling for a salary increment for doctors in the public sub-sector, the suspension of assignments for unpaid medics and the implementation of an accelerated processing procedure for their integration files including an increase in the retirement age of doctors from 55 to 65 years.

In the face of the doctors’ grumbling, the government seems to have decided to asphyxiate the strikers, through disciplinary measures, with the sole objective of decapitating the union, which is advocating the end of a policy whereby some few privileged patients are ferried abroad for treatment in a nation where a little more than 8000 Cameroonian doctors have moved outside the national borders.

Minister Mama Fouda has pushed his cynicism further, by banning last Sunday the broadcasting on a private and state television a message from Symec in which the latter had explained the motivations behind the strike action.

By Chi Prudence Asong