The encomiums have been aplenty, the impact is already visible, and the sensitisation messages and preventive measures as prescribed by the World Health Organisation, WHO, and the Government of Cameroon are scrupulously being respected by the population of the Southwest Regional capital, Buea.
This comes barely days after members of the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ Buea Chapter, stormed the streets, markets, motor parks and hospital premises in the cosmopolitan city of Buea to sensitise the population on how to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The journalists, drawn from various radio and television stations, newspaper houses and online platforms in Buea came out en masse to match words with action.
From the Bokwaongo Market, the Bokwaongo Health Centre to the Mile 17 Motor Park and the Buea Central Market, the journalists told the population that the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon is not a hoax, an illusion or an opium dream as many social media fanatics are purporting.
To them, coronavirus is real in Cameroon and the Southwest Region has already recorded cases of the pandemic. They said it behoves on everybody to work in synergy to mitigate the further spread of the virus in the Region and the country at large.
Speaking at the Bokwaongo Market, the Buea Regional Hospital Director, Dr. Martin Mokake, exhorted the population to meticulously respect the preventive measures outlined by WHO and the Cameroon Government to fight the spread of the pandemic.
He further asserted that regular washing of the hands, wearing of face masks, using hand sanitizer, observing social distancing and consulting a doctor when sick can help curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking at the event, one of the CAMASEJ Buea Chapter member, who is also the Political Desk Editor of CRTV National Station and the brain behind the campaign, Albert Njie Mbonde, said the exercise was aimed at creating awareness and reawakening the consciousness of the population of the Southwest Region, especially that of Buea in particular.
“COVID-19 is a public health concern and anyone can be affected. Unfortunately, many people still do not believe that coronavirus exists. Many Cameroonians still believe that it is a joke and as long they continue to feel that it is not real, they will not take the necessary precautionary measures to contain the virus. This is our way of creating awareness to tell the population that the virus is real,” he said.
On his part, the CAMASEJ Buea Chapter President, Isidore Abah, said the media and the society share a symbiotic relationship and these symbioses are encapsulated in all facets of national life.
“If the media reflect the society in which they operate in, then we as journalists cannot be indifferent to the plight of our population, especially in the face of this global health pandemic. Our gesture today is to tell our population that we are part of them and that it is only through concerted and collective efforts that we can surmount this global health pandemic,” Abah said.
Meanwhile, after setting up the various wash hand points, the population was extremely delighted. “I want to thank CAMASEJ for this wonderful initiative. The transporters are very happy with this gesture from CAMASEJ. Since the outbreak of this pandemic, we have only been hearing about wash your hands; use hand sanitizers and we were worried where to get these things. But we are grateful that CAMASEJ has provided us with all these things at the Mile 17 Motor Park and we will make effective use of the equipment.” Said Charles Eko Futeh, Secretary General of Buea transporter syndicate
On her part, a trader at the Bokwaongo Market said they have been buying hand sanitizer and water to wash their hands. To her, by putting in place hand washing points as CAMASEJ has done will go a long way to improve on the hygiene condition of the market.
Medics and traders at the Bokwaongo Health Centre and the Buea Central Market also lauded the initiative by CAMASEJ Buea and said it will go a long way to help the population contain the virus.
CAMASEJ members took along hand sanitizers, buckets filled with water, soap and hand gloves which the donated to the population.