Mamfe District Hospital: Tales of agony
It is almost one year since the Manyu District hospital was burned down to ashes. The Mamfe District Hospital was the best in the Division and it did, indeed, stand the population in good stead for more than four decades.
No one could have suspected that such a health facility could be razed, but the war which has pitted Cameroon’s English-speaking minority against the country’s government has brought out the worst in human beings.
The devil seem to have found work for many idle hands in the two English-speaking regions of the country and the anger and frustration triggered by years of marginalization and lack of opportunities have made destruction and wickedness fashionable in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions.
The burning of the Mamfe District Hospital in 2022 is one of those tragedies of war which many will never be forgotten. Since the burning of the hospital, it has not been easy for the population of Mamfe town, indeed, the entire Division which depended on the hospital for its health-care needs.
The population is desperate and though the government had moved critical services to the preventive health facility in Mamfe town, the population is still suffering and holds that the services offered leave much to be desired.
The staffs of the health facility, for their part, are finding it challenging to meet up with the public’s health demands. Due to this unfortunate situation, the death rate in the town has gone up by at least 30% with women and children being the hardest hit.
The Mamfe preventive health-care facility was never designed to deal with intensive care and delivery cases. It has never been endowed with the capacity to deal with heart problems, asthma, kidney failure and other critical illnesses but following the burning of the district hospital, this poorly equipped preventive health facility is now charged with the duty of handling very challenging situations though it is bereft of the proper equipment.
According to a medical officer at the health facility who elected anonymity, preventive medicine and curative medicine are different and tasking the preventive health-care facility with such a challenging task without the proper tools and equipment is one tough job which may result in many deaths.
The health official further explained that with the recent influx of IDPs from neighbouring Akwaya Sub-division where multiple inter-ethnic wars are playing out, the health situation in the Manyu Divisional headquarters has gotten worse.
The IDPs are not only flooding the town, they are also flooding the lone preventive health facility in the town as many of them come with diseases like miseales, scabbies, smallpox, typhoid and other diseases which are hard to handle by the medical staff.
The increasing population is also a source of stress for staff who are required to work without equipment. Their unfriendly working conditions have been compounded by an acute shortage of well-trained government paid staff and a lack of much-needed medications.
Speaking to the only medical doctor at the health facility, our correspondent in Mamfe learned that the challenges waiting to be addressed include a lack of proper medical infrastructure, the absence of a modern intensive care unit, the non-existence of a neo-natal unit and a Tuberclosis (TB) unit. A shortage of wards and maternity beds is robbing the health workers at the facility of a good night’s sleep.
The medical expert also advised that the makeshift health facility was in a dire need of delivery beds, stethoscopes, emergency vans, ambulances, laboratory equipment, x-ray machines, electrocardiograms and essential medications like anagelsics and antibiotics.
The government had promised to take appropriate measures to ensure residents of Mamfe got the care they needed but it is yet to match actions with words.
Manyu citizens in the USA, UK and Canada have been raising funds and they are looking forward to the government creating the appropriate environment for the money raised to be wired to the appropriate quarters for the rebuilding of the destroyed hospital.
It is in this context that Manyu Toronto, Canada, will be organizing a massive fundraiser in the summer to acquire modern equipment for the hospital. Manyu Toronto will be pleased to receive assistance from well-wishers across the globe.
By Dr Joachim Arrey with correspondent reports from Mamfe