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By Isidore Abah

CameroonPostline.com — Government has begun clamping down some 600 illegal health facilities in the country, the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mam Fouda, announced recently.
According to the Minister, the fight against illegal hospitals, health centres and medical institutions is intended to curb the number of hospital deaths in the country. Government, through the Ministry of Public Health, blames the surge in the number of deaths on hospitals operating without the necessary documents.
 

Minister Mama Fouda said these hospitals do not only have infrastructural and personnel problems, but have also become the hub of counterfeit drugs. The problem of counterfeit drugs, according to the Minister, is worrisome given that statistics from the World Health Organisation reveal that at least 200,000 deaths can be prevented annually, if patients are not given or sold counterfeit drugs.
 

In the same vein, a London-based International Policy Network has also revealed that an estimated 700,000 people in the world die annually due to the consumption of counterfeit tuberculosis and malaria drugs. This special crackdown on illegal health facilities is also targeting Chinese medical practitioners operating illegally.
 

The move by Government has been applauded by many as the first step towards sanitising the health sector in Cameroon. According to Dr. Nick Ngwanyam, proprietor of Saint Louis Higher Institute of Health, the step taken by the government to stop hospitals from operating illegally will save many lives. “When it comes to medicine, there is no room for mistakes and so this action by the Government to rid quacks who pose as doctors is welcome,” Dr. Ngwanyam said. 
 

First published in The Post print edition no 01494

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