By Chris Mbunwe

With over 191 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths within six weeks, the Northwest Region as at Friday, May 15, is ranked as the first Region in Cameroon with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

The revelation was made by the Northwest Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr. Kingsley Suh, during the visit of the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Public Health in Charge of Epidemic and Pandemic, Alim Hayatou.

In a graphic presentation, Dr. Kingsley Suh said of the Seven Divisions of the Northwest, Momo and Mezam Division are the highest infected Divisions. “We have been burying the deaths instead of handling patients. All the deaths are coming from outside the Northwest and most of them prefer to come and die in Bamenda or their villages. We are tracing and tracking suspected cases of coronavirus in the communities and our focus is going to be Mbengwi in Momo Division. As of now, we have screened over 24,000 at Matazem gateway into Bamenda and Widikum persons coming into Bamenda from Nigeria through Mamfe. This rise in COVID-19 cases in the Northwest is because most people are not respecting the restrictive measures Government has put in place. To some people, the easing of the measures by opening up of drinking spots for 24 hours, taxis and travel agency buses carrying normal load has worsened matters and some have taken this act by Government to indulge in bad practices that will keep the graph so stiff,” Dr. Suh averred.

He also stated that the Solidarity and Treatment Centre where some of the confined cases are being lodged like Azam Hotel and the Bamenda Regional Hospital COVID-19 Treatment Centre are inadequate. 

Even though the administration has earmarked the Low-Cost Houses on the New Road to Station and Ayaba Hotel, the rise in COVID-19 cases might explode in the days ahead if people continue to be reckless and avoid respecting Government measures.

On the problems stifling the effective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Suh listed; lack of finances, health personnel, limited ambulances and inadequate confined centres. He decried the attitude of some caretakers, who often disappear with their patients without the knowledge of medics.

Speaking at the event, Northwest Governor, Adolph Lele L’Afrique, said some fake products like drugs have been seized and their peddlers, who claimed to be treating COVID-19 have been arrested. He said those caught flouting restrictive measures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the disease shall be prosecuted.

Earlier, the Bamenda City Mayor, Paul Achobong, in his welcome speech, told the Secretary of State that the Head of State gifts to fight against the pandemic was well distributed and that the population is still expecting more. 

He thanked Alim Hayato for braving it to Bamenda, “a city where most people are afraid of visiting.” He said for now “Abakwa” is enjoying relative peace and expressed the wish for Amba warriors to drop their arms and return home so that they can take care of their health, and “we can develop Bamenda together.”

In a terse response to the worries presented, the Secretary of State in charge of Epidemic and Pandemic in the Ministry of Public Health, Alim Hayatou, said the problems of only two ambulances and official vehicles, treatment centres, testing kids and the rest shall be looked into immediately.

He thanked the Northwest health personnel for offering him a gift of a stool.