Yaoundé: Patients Stranded As Health Workers Protest Poor Working Conditions
As patients lay at the Yaoundé Emergency Centre (CURY) unattended for five hours, over 150 nurses stormed the Ministry of Public Health on Monday morning at 7.30 a.m., demanding better working conditions they say they have been deprived of for nine years.
On the placards they carried were inscribed demands such as “Mr. President, help” and “Enough is enough. The situation is unavoidable. 9 years without social security, without registration with the CNPS and withholding monthly salaries for 8 years.”
The workers are also demanding paid social insurance dues and permanent contracts from the ministry. They say despite past meetings with officials from the institution, it has been all talk, no action.
“Mr. Director of Human Resources: what is this situation?” they asked. The Director of Human Resources is reported to have blamed the delay on contractualization of workers on the Ministry of Public Health.
The nurses have asked the government to look into their predicament as they insist a nurse in distress is more dangerous than a soldier at war, alluding to the government’s investment in its military.
Cameroon’s military budget for 2023 and that of health had a difference of USD 79.1 million.
Last year after a similar protest, the Centre’s director Dr. Louis J. Bitang à Matock, told mainstream media over 1000 patients owe bills at the emergency center. He precisely said 90 out of 100 do not pay their bills, making the center run at a loss.
In a communiqué released on May 4, the National Union of Medico-sanitary personnel of Cameroon (SYMPENS) and the National Union of Establishments, Personnel and Companies in the health sector (CAP/SANTÉ) said until certain conditions are met, health workers will skip five hours of work each day to protest.
The Yaoundé Emergency Center (Cury) was created in 2015 to address health emergencies in Cameroon. It was part of the country’s attempt to reduce high rates of deaths in emergency rooms.
Source: Humangle media